Civic engagement seat will be filled

Office of mayor is entitled to staff assistance, as is council, said Adlem

The District of Mission will be proceeding with plans to find a new manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives, despite one councillor striving to delay the hire until after the upcoming November civic election.

“The civic engagement position, I say, is being abused,” said Coun. Nelson Tilbury.

He said he voted to create the position last year to improve internal communication at the district, not for political purposes, which is what he accused the mayor of doing.

A letter was published in the Mission Record newspaper (April 25) stating it was written by the mayor and signed by the mayor,” explained Tilbury. “The statements have been countered by staff and members of the public that it was not written by the mayor, but apparently written by the manager of civic engagement.”

Nowhere else in B.C. is staff paid to write the mayor’s speeches, said Tilbury.

Adlem maintained he authored the letter in question after “extensive discussions” with Couns. Larry Nundal and Jenny Stevens, and some individuals in the community about the content.

“From there, I put together the letter that was typed by the civic engagement person,” said Adlem. “I signed it and sent it in.”

The office of the mayor is entitled to staff assistance, as is council, Adlem added. “I will not make apologies for that.”

Nundal was absent from Monday’s council meeting, but Stevens supported Adlem, maintaining that mayors and other executives often have others write for them.

“I think he did dictate the content because I recognize some phrases (in the letter),” said Stevens. “This is pettiness and has nothing to do with whether or not the CAO (chief administrative officer) refills an existing vacancy.”

Mission CAO Ken Bjorgaard explained the position is “essential” and the district has been more professional and consistent with communications since a manager was engaged.

Council is only responsible for one hire, the CAO, said Coun. Dave Hensman. “(Bjorgaard) is in charge of all other hires … this is another example of a council member meddling.”

“I don’t see the purpose of postponing until after the election,” said Stevens. “We don’t stop business because of an election.”

The request to delay the hire was defeated by a 4-1 vote. Coun. Jeff Jewell, who is recovering from surgery, was also absent from the meeting. Tilbury was the only one who voted in favour.

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