LETTER: Port Alberni council going in circles

LETTER: Port Alberni council going in circles

To the Editor,

On February 10, 2016, commenting on the removal of Ken Watson as CAO, Mayor Ruttan said, “It’s a decision of council, and we want to move forward as council in a particular direction and that we felt that this was something we needed to do in order to help us move forward in that direction.”

What followed was a messy attempt at reorganizing the management structure by implementation of some of the personnel changes suggested in Judy Roger’s report, not implementing others and, in at least one circumstance, the establishment of a position deemed critical in the Roger’s report—Director of Community Services—that has since been eliminated by the same council that created it.

Meanwhile, council has undone much of their Roger’s report restructuring by infilling and restarting cancelled positions. Having been championed by the Mayor, Council’s uninformed need to fix a perceived management problem has caused an immense mistrust of this council, and a deficit in morale by many exempt staff and union personnel.

On March 1, 2018, Mayor Ruttan acknowledged that there were reasons behind many managerial positions that he was unaware of before he was elected. “Once you get into it and you have a look at it and try and start scratching below the surface you realize that there are some reasons to…change things that you hadn’t realized there initially. It’s part of the education.”

Not an entirely clear statement, but evidently one of the top educators of the Alberni Valley still had to learn the job after being elected. As I wrote last fall, prospective candidates should be doing plenty of learning before getting elected to council. Having come nearly full circle on the personnel file during their term, was this council’s particular course: the one Mayor Ruttan alluded to in 2016, one of going in circles?

Roland Smith,

Port Alberni