LETTER: Council overstepped spending authority

Weekly letters to the editor from within the Sooke community.

Re: Municipal staff abruptly walk out of district council meeting (News, Dec. 21)

Gail Hall is not the only one who believes Sooke council overstepped its spending authority on three bylaws and that an amendment after the fact should not hold up in court as an effective remedy. Council removing staff from the meeting suggests it couldn’t assure electors otherwise.

Council is involved with the walkout regardless of what each councillor says privately. Publicly, not one councillor present objected.

Sooke councillors are banking their own personal funds on the amendment not tested in court. They have a legal defence if staff misled them, which then case Sooke taxpayers have a legitimate complaint against District of Sooke staff and council for selecting the staff.

Taxpayers expect council to hold staff to account and we also have to hold council to account. Hall is vilified, in my view, only for doing precisely that.

Think this was a mistake or one-off? Watch the video of the mayor suggesting annual amendments to the Financial Plan at Christmas, when few people other than Hall will notice.

Does Sooke council really believe it can use emergency measures to approve mundane costly expenses without full public review willy-nilly throughout the year and sneak the budget increases in at the end of the year to hide its constant overspending? Council better think twice.

And if the best Sooke council can do is to point to other municipalities doing the same thing, I suggest councillors don wet suits before heading out to the Sooke bridge and jumping in. It has been rather cold lately.

Jennifer Smith

Sooke