Putting own self interests ahead of taxpayers

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Pitt councillors were just grandstanding’ (Letters, July 6).

I find it fascinating the variety of positions on what is essentially one set of facts surrounding the City of Pitt Meadows buying its vehicle insurance from Mayor Don MacLean’s insurance agency.

The B.C. Community Charter and the Oath of Office for mayors state any relationship of a financial nature must be disclosed.

This is the standard of conduct and is not open to interpretation.

The position of the mayor being unaware does not take away from the fact that he has failed to meet this standard of conduct on both the charter and Oath of Office level.

The correct position for the city in purchasing goods and services is to not consider bids from city employees or representatives as it is impossible to undertake such relationships ‘in house’  in an impartial fashion regardless of how well-intentioned the players might be.

This is exactly why the conflict of interest rules exist in the B.C. Community Charter.

When Couns. Deb Walters and Tracy Miyashita asked the mayor to explain this previously unknown, and undisclosed, business relationship, one resident accused them of grandstanding.

I think the councillors should be applauded for their concern.

Their questions to the mayor were absolutely appropriate under the circumstances.

They would have been derelict in their responsibility to the taxpayers of Pitt Meadows if they hadn’t questioned the mayor on this point.

In support of the city buying goods or services from city employees or representatives, the same resident asked  the following question: should Coun. Doug Bing, who is a dentist,  not be allowed to provide dental services to those who work in city hall?

I would suggest that such a question misses the point.  The correct question is:  if the City of Pitt Meadows needed a dental plan to cover all of its employees, should Coun. Bing bid on such a contract?

If I were a councillor in a similar position, I think the high road would be to step back from any such contract and thus preserve my impartiality.

The comment from Coun. John Becker that this whole situation amounts  to “a tempest in a teapot” is a perhaps the most astonishing remark.  As a lawyer,  the rule of law is the cornerstone of  the profession.

I for one found the teapot comment a weak attempt to trivialize what most people might consider a breach of trust.

The real issue is whether we respect and conduct ourselves within the rules of conduct or do we pursue our own agenda and hope no one notices.

When the rules are breached, do we simply shrug it off as small potatoes, or a “tempest in a teapot,” or do we call it what it is:  a failure of our elected  officials to put the interests of the taxpayers ahead of their own.

I think the thoughtful residents of Pitt Meadows would elect the latter.

Dr. Gary Simatos

Pitt Meadows