During Dan Ashton’s term as mayor, Penticton Council brought in a former B.C. Government employee as the chief administrative officer. Council broke with tradition as municipalities usually require excellent references in civic management.
Experienced civic managers are conversant with the myriad regulations and interpretations of the Community Charter and able to provide direction in proper procedures for the complex situations that arrive on the steps of City Hall.
Part of a CAO’s job is to weed out the hare-brained ideas crossing his/her desk on a weekly basis at City Hall. The CAO is not there to decide whether or not a project should go forward.
But rather to ensure that pie-in-the-sky ideas do not waste council’s time or that of city staff when they have no financial backing or business plan to ensure the viability of their scheme.
That layer of protection for council no longer exists and has become redundant. Penticton taxpayers are paying the price.
The extra work for highly-paid and busy civic employees who spend time working with people that do not have the funds to develop their ideas is an expensive proposition for the taxpayer; not only in failed projects and lawsuits but also in the time allocated to preparatory work for something that has little hope of getting off the ground.
A good example is the monetary after effects and subsequent lawsuits of the hockey dorm fiasco that turned Penticton into the laughing stock of the Okanagan Valley.
Now we are on the verge of another crash and burn as marina contracts are handed out to people that needed to raise the funds through increased fees for marina expansion and readily admit they lack funding for the very expensive pie-in-the-sky project proposed at Skaha Park.
The Fintry Queen is another project looking for money to magically appear out of thin air. Again there is no viable business plan or assurances to Pentictonites that they won’t end up on the short end of the stick if it doesn’t get off the ground.
Penticton council is like a soap opera. We taxpayers wait with bated breath for the next expensive installment.