EDITORIAL: Innuendo and rumour finds new home

We say: District needs to be upfront with plan as three senior managers leave.

The quick departure of senior managers at the District of Sooke is alarming on the surface, but it will force a catalyst of change at city hall.

Since the arrival of chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan on Dec. 14, three senior managers – finance director Michael Dillabaugh, municipal engineer Elisabeth Nelson and corporate officer Bonnie Sprinkling – have left. The only long-serving manager remaining is fire chief Steve Sorensen.

The B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act limits officials on what they can release when a worker leaves their employ – even to suggest why they left.

It is understandable why such legislation exists, but at the same time it brings rise to speculation and innuendo.

The district hasn’t helped its cause, either.

Several phone calls to Sullivan and council members were met with stonewalling – even when reporters were not asking about individuals but the direction the district was taking.

Officials would either say they can’t answer due to FOIPP provisions or directed reporters to the District of Sooke’s Strategic Plan to search for answers.

The strategic plan lists in broad terms the district’s goal’s over the next four years.

Change occurs in every organization – it’s part of the evolution of business. But transparency in government is essential.

We understand that two of the three managers left on their own accord.  What we don’t know is what direction council is taking the municipality or whether those positions will be replaced.

There’s no doubt a plan is in place and Sullivan is the cog that is expected to make it happen.

This council has been all about change and it is certainly going to happen, but it needs to do a better job of communicating its vision with its constituents because innuendo and rumour are never good things.

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