LETTERS: Penticton taxpayers want accountability

Penticton Western News letters to the editor for the Oct. 8 issue.

Taxpayers want accountability

One of the underlying issues in this civic election is accountability to the taxpayers for use of public funds.

Several indications that another core services review is needed would include the well-publicized hiring of a communications officer and the failure of the city lawsuit against the PHA. Then there was the subsequent lawsuits against the city over the hockey dorm project; still not resolved. Or the still open threat of a lawsuit against me which could proceed after the election; once council seats are secure for another four years.

All of these are indications that this city council is acting fast and loose with public tax dollars. A completed core service review should be released in full so the taxpayer knows the current state at city hall. Does fast and loose with the public dollar include hiring practices? Is hiring out of control again at city hall? Jobs that were terminated during the core services; have they been replaced using different job descriptions? Only a core services review will tell us. Costing in the neighbourhood of $100,000. I expect it would be cheap at the price with savings way beyond the initial cost.

The review needs to go further this time in assessing value for service in management salaries. This should include stringent recommendations on necessary qualifications for management positions and review the ability of management to create pleasant and safe working conditions that ensures that employees remain motivated.

Unhappy or disgruntled employees never give good value for money. The people on the bottom end of the scale go to work every day and keep our city running smoothly. They deserve our protection and appreciation in their work environment.

Management salaries for various civil servants need checks and balances to ensure that taxpayers’ are receiving fair value for their dollar and the employees under them are being treated fairly.  Reviews need to be conducted by an independent third body.

In 2012, Annette Antoniak the CAO made $166,917.32; her expenses were around $9,000. including  about $2,800 in moving expenses. Surely it is not the responsibility of the taxpayer to fund Ms. Antoniak’s moving expenses. How often has she moved since employed as a civil servant in this area? And, how often have we taxpayers funded that move?

The latest financial report (2012) shows that there were 71 employees in the city earning between $75,000 and $182,000 a year.

Elvena Slump

Penticton

Taking back the night

South Okanagan Victim Assistance would like to thank all those that came out in support of Take Back the Night on Sept. 24. The annual Take Back the Night march allows women to unite, celebrate our collective strength, and voice our desire to end the fear of sexual assault, sexual abuse, dating and domestic violence.

This public event is to raise awareness of the violence and fear women face walking late at night. Over the years it has evolved to include violence prevention and awareness on the streets and in people’s homes. While it is important to recognize that both men and women experience violence and abuse, predominately women are at higher risk for assault.

The Take Back the Night march is organized for women to empower survivors in the healing process. The goal is to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness.

Thanks to the support of the following groups the event was tremendously successful. South Okanagan Women In Need Society, Penticton & Area Access Centre, Penticton & District Community Resources Society, Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society, Birthright, Ooknakane Friendship Centre and Pathways. All these organizations work together to give support to those people in need, whether they are women, men or children.

You will be seeing more of us as we continue to play a greater role in the community raising awareness and working towards stopping the abuse.

Lorraine Renyard,

Agency Coordinator


Beware, you will be next

My parents brought me to Penticton in April 1934; I was three years old. I have considered myself a  Pentictonite ever since.

I served as a volunteer on the Penticton Fire Department in 1950. I have been on the sidelines of the construction industry for many years. I was sales manager for Imbrex Western Distributors, a J. Pattison company in floor covering distribution for the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I later was the managing director of Romney Carpet Corporation based in Auckland, New Zealand for all of North America.

After a political situation, I received a severance allowance and purchased a farm in Okanagan Falls and built my own home there. I became involved in crop insurance and protected B.C. farmers. I am having my first negative thoughts on my favourite city since returning four years ago and purchasing a condo in Cherry Lane Towers because the location is fantastic. We are now in silly season when politicians make promises they cannot keep, and promise they will not do what happens the next week.

I have never in my 83 years experienced a city that did not require a permit to have a product installed, and then came back 11 years after installation and require a retroactive permit for a product that was part of a property you purchased. This is the thin edge of the wedge and if we cower and they have their way, you will be next.

Ken Charlish

Penticton


A heartfelt thanks

Through a combined effort of a small army of volunteers and many community-minded businesses, United Way of the Central and South Okanagan Similkameen (UWCSO) completed yet another successful Drive Thru Breakfast Kickoff event Sept. 10; raising over $11,000 for local charities supported by UWCSO.

It is great moments like this that truly show Penticton as a world-class community. Thank you to the community of Penticton and neighbours in the South Okanagan for the overwhelming support of the United Way in your community.  Our new Community Action Plan invites members of all of the communities in our region to adopt My Story, My United Way, My Community and work through the United Way to improve the condition of many. As your executive director I want to say with great pride, a sincere thanks for what we shared living the United Way promise to give; volunteer; act in some blustery morning conditions during our kick-off for the fall fundraising campaign season.

Thank you to the Penticton Lakeside for hosting and to the great citizens of Penticton for believing in the United Way and taking action to making positive impact in our own backyards.  Please reach out to us. We want to keep the momentum going!

Shelley Gilmore, CHRP

executive director

United Way Central and South Okanagan Similkameen

 

Duffy disaster

Re: Rice’s cartoon (Western News, Oct. 1). PM Harper with Patrick Duffy. I sincerely hope that this trial coming up in April gets cancelled.

Drop the charges and walk away from this disaster. Duffy already has his team of lawyers lined up. He will never be convicted and the taxpayers will be stuck with his lawyers’ fees and RCMP costs.

We have had bad examples already of this kind of nonsense i.e. Chretien and Mulroney.

James Longbottom

Penticton

 

City hall dance

I don’t know why, in the city’s crusade for dominance, the staff selected Cherry Lane Towers.  Perhaps it was that many residents are older and some too weak to fight back.

One thing that seems evident is that our elected council do not have control of the staff. How long will the citizens of this sandbar put up with what appears to be an out-of-control city staff?

Selecting the Cherry Lane Towers cement and steel buildings while pardoning older wood-frame structures, some with glassed-in balconies, does not make sense.

Retroactive building permits going back up to 11 years suggests something has been off base in our city for some time. Ousting the council will not solve the whole problem. They need more control over the staff and need to apply reasonableness when reviewing staff suggestions.

To any outgoing staff I suggest, wherever your careers take you next I hope you leave your injustices behind.  To quote Henry Ford “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”  You failed to do that here.

While Mrs. Slump may have taken a couple liberties we should remember this is a free country; perhaps with the exception of the City of Penticton at the moment.

It’s time to take back our city.

Speak out Penticton.

David Worth

Penticton