LETTERS: Penticton Hospitality Association calls for resignations

Letter to the Penticton Western News editor from the operations director of the PHA regarding dispute with the City.

PHA calls for resignations

The people of Penticton should be outraged by the ruinous course of action that has been conducted in their name and demand accountability quickly.

I say this not out of some vengeance or slight, but for the purposes of protecting the democratic process itself.

Accountability is now the key issue because without it democracy fails. Being accountable rests at the heart of the democratic process (indeed, our social and judicial systems are based on it). You simply cannot make false accusations, waste so much taxpayers’ money, jeopardize people’s livelihoods and fly in the face of public opinion and the will of the business community and then simply shrug it off as an unfortunate mistake.

The city’s press release and subsequent comments regarding the Supreme Court ruling last week, struck me as an exercise in damage limitation alone. It acknowledged regret for having gone to court but it made no mention of accountability in relation to the consequences of the decision to pursue the PHA, and the burden now inflicted upon the electorate (legal costs, wasted man-hours, etc. not to mention the personal and professional distress caused). Millions of dollars may have been lost in tourism revenue to the community that could have been secured had marketing operations (already shown to be successful) been allowed to continue unhindered.

This is unacceptable.

It is the fiduciary and civic responsibility of any democratically elected official to hold themselves, or those in their employ, accountable to the electorate. They are elected (and paid) to make qualified independent decisions on behalf, and to the benefit, of those that have elected them to office and to make those decisions based upon their own due diligence. They are then held accountable for those decisions. It’s part of the job brief.

a) If elected officials repeatedly make bad choices and fail to deliver qualified decisions on behalf of the people they serve then they are clearly not up to the job they were elected (and paid) to do and should go.

b) If they rely too heavily on others to supply information that they continually fail to verify then they have also neglected there responsibilities and should go.

c) Equally, if they see failure somewhere else in the administrative system whether it be gross incompetence or worse, gross misconduct (financial or otherwise), then they need to safeguard the community and remove the problem immediately or again, they themselves should go.

In our democratic society nobody can be allowed to act with impunity. If they did then the democratic system would be open to abuse and corruption. Essentially anyone could make a mistake or fiddle the system and get away with it.

Not upholding this value has very serious implications.

If sufficient background information and sensible advice when making a decision is not passed on, or collected, by either the elected or city officials that serve us, then for the sake of our democratic system, there needs to be accountability.

As a member of this community I know first-hand that a great many ordinary, honest, hard-working people have had their lives unnecessarily disrupted and many small businesses have been put on the back-foot and suffered financially due to this recent ruinous strategy (not just accommodators).

The fallout is repairable of course but what has been committed here is either gross incompetence or worse gross misconduct (financial or otherwise) and whoever has failed in there fiduciary, civic or employment responsibilities should be removed with immediate effect: Garry Litke, Wesley Hopkin, Andrew Jakubeit, Helena Konanz, Judy Sentes, John Vassilaki, Katie Robinson or … Annette Anotniak (city manager)?

Not just to correct the problem but to reassure the rest of us (the community) that the system, our system, is protected. That someone competent is in control and protecting the democratic process … our democratic process!

TJ Hodgkinson

Operations director for the Penticton Hospitality Association