Councillor Maria McFaddin (center) took her oath of office at Monday’s council meeting. (Photo: Betsy Kline)

Castlegar councillors question mayor’s committee appointment over conflict of interest concerns

Councillors concerned over Mayor Bruno Tassone’s appointment of Cherryl MacLeod to the grievance committee

Castlegar councillors are already raising concerns over one of Bruno Tassone’s first decisions as mayor.

Board and committee apointments were the main thing on the agenda at the inaugral meeting Monday. It was one of the latter appointments that had three councillors voicing dissent.

Approximately 75 residents crowded into the Castlegar Community Forum to see the newly elected officials take their oaths of office before RCMP Sgt. Darren Oelke, while an honour guard from the Castlegar Fire Department stood watch.

Tassone will sit on the boards of the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), the Castlegar and District Recreation Commission, and the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District.

Councillor Dan Rye will be the alternate director to the RDCK. Rye and first-term councillor Bergen Price will also be appointed to the Castlegar and District Recreation Commission for a one-year term.

The above appointments were all carried by council. However, standing committee appointments, which are decided by the mayor alone, did not all go so smoothly.

Several councillors voiced concerns over Tassone’s appointment of first-term councillor Cherryl MacLeod to the grievance committee.

MacLeod is a member of CUPE, the same union as city staff, but she is part of a different local.

“Just from a point of transparency and impartiality, putting… Cherryl MacLeod on the committee puts her in a unique position,” said Councillor Florio Vassilakakis. “To be perhaps in an uncomfortable condition where she will have to vote on, or decided on a grievance that a fellow union member might be grieving.”

Vassilakakis said he was not questioning MacLeod’s integrity, but rather was concerned about the potential for a perceived conflict of interest.

Tassone responded by stating that he did not see a problem as there are two different locals in play. He also voiced his confidence in MacLeod’s ability to step down or recuse herself if she felt there was a conflict.

Councillor Dan Rye said he shared the same concerns as Vassilakakis.

“One of the first things you learn when you go to ‘newly elected school’ is that if there is a perceived case of conflict of interest, you should back away,” said Rye. “I would take it as a perceived conflict of interest.”

Macleod said she is excited to be on the committee and thinks it will be good to have someone with union experience at the table.

Vassilakakis argued that the mayor is already on the committee and he has spent more than 30 years in the CUPE union, so someone is already there that understands union workings.

Councillor Sue Heaton-Shertibitoff agreed with the concerns about MacLeod’s appointment.

No comments were made about the remaining committee assignments.

MacLeod will chair the community wellness and social services committee with Vassilakakis serving as deputy chair.

Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff will chair the culture and civic pride committee and Rye will serve as deputy chair.

Vassilakakis will chair the finance and corporate services committee and first-term councillor Maria McFaddin will serve as deputy chair.

Price will chair the green and technology committee and Heaton-Sherstobitoff will serve as deputy chair.

McFaddin will chair the planning and development committee and Price will serve as deputy chair.

Tassone will chair the public safety committee with Cherryl Macleod as deputy chair.

Councillor Rye will chair transportation and civic works and Tassone will act as deputy chair.

Just Posted

Scammers using Castlegar home for rental fraud

Local realtors say the problem is happening more frequently with their properties

Trail police seek to ID more loot recovered during weapons search

Trail RCMP recovered numerous weapons and stolen items after search at Fifth Avenue residence

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Pacific Insight to close in April

The remaining employees at the Nelson automotive manufacturing facility to be laid off

RCMP bike patrol coming to Castlegar

The pair of bicycles will be from a local shop and cost over $6,000 each.

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Former welfare clients still owed money, B.C. Ombudsperson says

Investigation found 2,600 people docked illegally for earning income

Prince George could get province’s second BC Cannabis Store

The first brick-and-mortar government retail location opened in Kamloops on Oct. 17

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Winter weather advisory issued for East Kootenay

Up to 5cm of snow expected by the end of the weekend and up to 15cm over the next week

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Most Read