Editorial: Conferences are not vacation “perks”

Sending council members on conferences before election is irresponsible

When council has to make a decision whether

to give the food bank a couple of thousand dollars

for milk and then budgets $27,050 for conferences

and travel, one has to wonder where their priorities

really are.

When only one member of council has declared

(to the Sooke News Mirror) they are running

in the next election, one questions why at

least four (if not six) of them are jetting off to a

conference in Niagara Falls, or plan on attending

the UBCM conference in Whistler in September.

If the conference was being held in Podunk,

Saskatchewan in February, it is doubtful anyone

would wish to attend. They’d all be fighting for

who gets to stay home. Do councillors partners/

spouses get to tag along? Some do, especially when

conferences are held in attractive and desirable

places, kind of like a mini family vacation. We know

councillors are not paid handsomely for the work

they do, but that’s public service — service without

pay. Service for the community, the public.

Can you see the irony here? What possible

benefit will Sooke get from council attendance at

conferences if they don’t plan on running in the

November election. UBCM should not be held in

September on years when there is an impending

election. It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money and it is

not or should not be a “perk” for past performance.

One could and likely will argue that councillors

learn so much at these junkets and conferences.

Really? When do we see the “learning” at the

council table?

So, who’s running?

Wendal Milne – undeclared

Bev Berger – undeclared

Herb Haldane – undeclared

Rick Kasper – undeclared

Kevin Pearson – undeclared

Kerrie Reay – declared

Maja Tait – undeclared.