Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


In follow up to the NPA board troubles, a few board members of the NPA, have stated in the Vancouver Sun, that they do not see the problem with paid staff in the Mayor's office (funded by taxpayers) also sitting on the NPA board (a private political association).

Troubling in this is the lack of judgement shown by NPA board members, the Mayor's new staff and the Mayor himself.

Board members of any organization should have the appropriate skills when it comes to making responsible decisions, especially around issues of judgment. Moreover, extreme caution should be exercised especially around sensitive political decision making. When, two NPA board members applied to be our new Mayor Sam Sullivan's, paid communications staff (funded by the public), they should have immediately tendered their resignations from the NPA board.

In fact, previously, a NPA board member who was applying to be a paid staff of the NPA, tendered his resignation before being ultimately hired so as not to place other board members in a perceived or real conflict of interest.

In most organizations, its very clear that having paid staff sitting in a duo capacity as board members, while not illegal, creates potential, perceived and or actual conflict. The reason being that management (exercises power and influence over the decision making of a staff member, and can use this influence directly or indirectly to curry favor over the staff in a board governance role.

Troubling for our new Mayor is that his decision to hire two board members of the NPA is only problematic because these two staff did not resign from the NPA board upon submitting their resumes for paid political work in the Mayor's office.

Profound in all this is that the public expects, the Mayor's office and his staff to be free of political influence or interference, once the Mayor is elected. By allowing his "non-partisan" taxpayer funded staff to remain board members of a "partisan" political organization, the Mayor, Sam Sullivan displays a careless lack of judgment. This cannot continue.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


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