EDITORIAL: Lesson offered for public bodies

Greater Victoria Harbour authority board controversy shows public organizations must remember who they serve

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s hesitation to accept Victoria Coun. Shellie Gudgeon to its board of directors, and her eventual acceptance after public backlash, bring up a couple of points.

The Harbour Authority, a non-profit society, was rightfully forced to eat crow after initially questioning the city’s nomination of a publicly elected official, citing Gudgeon’s apparent lack of appropriate skill set. It was technically able to reject the nomination under its society bylaws, but the move came off as arrogant and undemocratic.

The scenario should offer a lesson to members of any public body, whether political or societal, to be mindful of how they view that body’s place and role in the community. The public expects to have at least some say in the workings of organizations that are funded in part by tax dollars and/or manage community spaces.

In the case of the Harbour Authority, its board meets just four times a year, not every week or even every month. That would indicate decisions made by directors are more broad-based and centred around policy rather than related to day-to-day operational challenges that may come up.

Newcomers to municipal councils, or boards or committees with a specific mandate, always face a learning curve as they research issues and get up to speed on any technical aspects of the position. No doubt the longest-tenured members of the authority’s board have learned a lot about the ins and outs of a working harbour.

The Harbour Authority had hoped for more representation from Victoria. But like any public body with representation from the greater community, the GVHA has to trust that nominations are made with due consideration of its needs and mandate.

Organizations that steward public assets must always remember whom they serve, and as such, should regularly allow for the injection of fresh perspectives from the community at large.

Doing so provides better accountability and helps ensure public sentiment is considered during all boardroom conversations.

Just Posted

Saanich police look for driver involved in a hit-and-run

Incident happened Monday, Feb. 18 near Admirals Road by Murray Drive

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

Search for modular housing in Saanich continues

Municipality says it remains committed to search for suitable piece of land to house homeless

Home show hits Pearkes this weekend

Victoria Early Spring Home Expo, Friday to Sunday

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Northern B.C. train derailment due to broken axle could happen again: TSB

CN coal train derailment caused by broken axle can happen again without a different way to inspect

Former B.C. fire chief sues his city after termination

Keith Green’s civil claim says that he believes he was wrongfully terminated

B.C. man injured in police shooting now in wheelchair

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Most Read