EDITORIAL: Lesson offered for public bodies

Greater Victoria Harbour authority board controversy shows public organizations must remember who they serve

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s hesitation to accept Victoria Coun. Shellie Gudgeon to its board of directors, and her eventual acceptance after public backlash, bring up a couple of points.

The Harbour Authority, a non-profit society, was rightfully forced to eat crow after initially questioning the city’s nomination of a publicly elected official, citing Gudgeon’s apparent lack of appropriate skill set. It was technically able to reject the nomination under its society bylaws, but the move came off as arrogant and undemocratic.

The scenario should offer a lesson to members of any public body, whether political or societal, to be mindful of how they view that body’s place and role in the community. The public expects to have at least some say in the workings of organizations that are funded in part by tax dollars and/or manage community spaces.

In the case of the Harbour Authority, its board meets just four times a year, not every week or even every month. That would indicate decisions made by directors are more broad-based and centred around policy rather than related to day-to-day operational challenges that may come up.

Newcomers to municipal councils, or boards or committees with a specific mandate, always face a learning curve as they research issues and get up to speed on any technical aspects of the position. No doubt the longest-tenured members of the authority’s board have learned a lot about the ins and outs of a working harbour.

The Harbour Authority had hoped for more representation from Victoria. But like any public body with representation from the greater community, the GVHA has to trust that nominations are made with due consideration of its needs and mandate.

Organizations that steward public assets must always remember whom they serve, and as such, should regularly allow for the injection of fresh perspectives from the community at large.

Doing so provides better accountability and helps ensure public sentiment is considered during all boardroom conversations.

Just Posted

Hallmark movie filming in Oak Bay

Shooting for ‘Sunshine’ continues into June across Greater Victoria

Home where grisly murder of Kimberly Proctor took place to be removed from Langford’s Affordable Housing Program

Langford woman almost purchased home, decided against it after hearing history

PHOTOS: Victoria youth continue to gather for climate action

Local students participated in a global movement calling for climate action

Owner of beached Oak Bay boat hopes to remove it in June

Boat’s owner bets on June’s high tides to help

Tour the historic MV Uchuck III in Victoria’s upper harbour

MV Uchuck open house is Saturday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Point Hope Maritime

VIDEO: 76th annual Swiftsure sets sail Saturday

Longstanding competition takes off from Victoria’s Inner Harbour May 25

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

Most Read