The system of selecting City committee members is often flawed

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2016 7:51 pm

JAMES MILLER |

Why do people seem  surprised that Dr. Gerry Karr was not chosen to be on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan committee? Selections to municipal committees have been stacked for years.

What is Karr’s background?

He’s a retired cardiologist. He’s been active with the Healthy Living Fair for years. For a man his age, he’s extremely fit. I often see him at City Centre going twice the speed on an exercise machine as someone half his age. He’s a Rotarian. He takes a keen interest in the city.

No, don’t want him. The problem is, the good doctor is also a vocal opponent to the Skaha Lake Park waterslide.

Enter Bruce Millington.

In a letter to the editor in today’s Herald, Millington revealed that he too was interested in that committee.

His credentials sound good — 34 years with Penticton’s Parks and Recreation department, previous experience as a facilities coordinator and a lifetime Pentictonite who also cares deeply about the city. He’s also an athletic guy who has played a lot of sports.

Although not as vocal as Dr. Karr, Millington too is opposed to the waterslide.

Get the hook.

Council’s actions are undemocratic according to the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. Their report went public this week.

I have never applied to be on a committee because frankly, I hate it. Although I’m a team player, I like to make my own decisions and I’m willing to wear it when the mistake is mine.

In 2010, a city councillor asked if I’d be interested in serving on the SOEC advisory committee based on the fact I know music fairly well and I enjoy hockey.

Sure, why not?

I was soon told that it would be a conflict of interest. Instead, they put on an ad guy from the Western News whose name escapes me at the moment.

I don’t care but trust me, you don’t want James Miller on your committee. He asks the uncomfortable questions when something doesn’t seem right.

The way these committees work is they welcome input but when it comes to something controversial they want people who will agree with their standpoint.

Think of the famous Saturday Night Live sketches “Da Bears” with Mike Ditka or Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson or Boo Boo to Yogi.

Democracy and business work best when there are different points of view. Parliament and provincial Legislatures, believe it or not, work because there is an official Opposition and quite often a third party.

Cutting the City some slack, subjective decisions are always open for criticism.

In a small city such as Penticton, backdoor politics will always enter into things like this.

That’s why the best solution would be to ask someone from Vernon, who doesn’t know any of the applicants, to review the resumes and choose who they think would be best.

This would also take the City off the hot-seat.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit’s excuse that Dr. Karr is involved with a lawsuit against the City is contradictory.

Unless this is a criminal case where there’s a restraining order against an individual, that shouldn’t apply.

It’s my understanding that a present member of city council once sued the City of Penticton for a slip and fall. Should that councillor be banned from serving on council?

Of course not.

Should David Prystay deny service to all members of city council at The Barking Parrot because they are involved with a legal issue against the Penticton Lakeside Resort on power bills?

Again, of course not.

But the same should apply to Dr. Gerry Karr.