Editor, The News:
Re: Taxpayers footing bill for both positions (Letters, Aug. 2).
Cheryl Baron, I sincerely appreciate your concern and would like to answer on my own behalf, as, although I did speak with the mayor prior to taking on the role of constituency assistant, he should not bare the burden of explaining my decision.
As for fulfilling my duties during the election, I fulfilled all of my council duties during my time as Dr. Doug Bing’s campaign manager.
As a matter of fact, I am known for attending more events than that of my colleagues, who hold down full-time jobs, and that pattern did not change during my time as Dr. Bing’s campaign manager.
My family was the part of my life that took a back seat, but they fully supported me, as they knew I viewed it as important.
Just for your own information, the councillor role is part-time and people who are elected have many other activities going on in their lives.
As far as what I do on my personal time outside of council duties, I am not aware of anything in law that prohibits me from being a campaign manager during an election.
To the contrary, I believe the constitution would support my right to do so.
On your point of partisanship, I think my record speaks for itself at the council table, as I have supported all issues and topics that assist in making Maple Ridge a great community, regardless of party lines.
There is nothing in law that prohibits me from being a constituency assistant.
As a matter of fact, there is an NDP constituency assistant who is a city councillor in Port Coquitlam.
I have noted this, as when I did my research as to whether I could accept this role, part of the confirmation came from the collective agreement that guides the NDP constituency assistant role. The agreement allows for a leave of absence if a CA is elected to a position.
There is no language within the agreement that prevents the dual roles.
It is worthy to note that collective agreements are structured to ensure they are not ultra virus to the laws of the land.
I looked over the qualifications of the role, as defined by the Liberal Party’s individual contract structure, and I assure you that I have all of the qualifications. Dr. Bing would never have offered me the role if I could not do the job.
It is important that every citizen who walks through the door of the constituency office is served to the best of our ability and that will be my goal.
I understand conflict of interest and, like all others who must be aware of appearances of such, I will make sure I apply due diligence to ensure none occurs. And as assigned under the legislation, I will call my own conflict.
I have stated all of this, as I want you to understand that I took this decision seriously and made sure that my decision was informed.
I care deeply about this community and my focus will be what it has always been, to make this the best community it can be and assist citizens where and when needed.
Coun. Cheryl Ashlie
People flocking to corner of ‘Rocky’ Bell
Editor, The News:
Re: Councillors ‘ambush’ rookie Bell (The News, July 26).
I attended the council meeting on Tuesday, July 23 to watch our elected representatives at work.
What I witnessed was totally unprofessional conduct by three councillors and the mayor.
Good ol’ boy Mayor Ernie Daykin went on a rant about how the new councillors were causing all the problems on council.
He assumed no responsibility of any kind for the turmoil.
This opened the door for the verbal assaults by Couns. Cheryl Ashlie and Judy Dueck.
Mayor Daykin woke up just in time to slow down another one from Coun. Mike Morden.
The time used by these councillors is supposed to be for describing what they have been doing on behalf of the electorate, how they are earning their wages.
Instead, they used this time to speak to their own private agendas, all of which were for personal reasons, it seems.
Wily old veteran Coun. Al Hogarth ( never one to back away from controversy) seemed fit to observe the proceedings and stay out of things.
Coun. Robert Masse tried his best to lighten the mood at the table. He is a true asset on council.
Coun. Corisa Bell quietly acknowledged the ambush, then went ( very professionally) to giving her report.
A councillor with respect for the system, and she refused to lower herself to the level of the mayor and his triumvirate.
This ability to ‘take a licking and keep on ticking’ has earned her a new nickname to me, ‘Rocky Balboa’ Bell.
A true home-grown champion, standing up and fighting for the people that elected her.
People from all over the municipality are flocking to her corner.
I will stand beside this councillor and the ethics that she brings to council. Go get’, Rocky.
Gary J. Graham