–Britt Santowski, SPN
Yesterday, the local weekly print paper published an article in which was written “Bullying, especially the online kind, has plagued the council and district staff for months.” In their closing, they belaboured this sorrowful point.
If by “bullying” the print paper means “asking questions,” they are right. SPN, a paperless newspaper of “the online kind,” has been asking questions.
A victim stance does not a bully make
By SPN standards, “asking questions,” is not akin to “bullying.” We did and still do have questions. Some have been answered. Many have not. We will persist. Scrutiny is one primary function of media.
Sometimes, scrutiny may result in hurt feelings. Hurt feelings do not turn scrutiny into bullying.
Bullying and harassment is not OK. Asking questions is. Inquiry is the foundation of democracy.
SPN has been asking questions, some of them difficult.
- Possible conflict of interest. SPN observed a former executive working relationship between the Hiring Committee Chair and the ultimate hire. We questioned a possible conflict of interest in January. Those questions resulted in a Cease and Desist letter and a Demand letter. We are still investigating the matter.
- Directly-appointed hire. SPN noted when the newly hired CAO hired a former colleague. We recorded it when the CAO tried to direct-appoint her new hire as the District CO; council had the fortitude to insist the position be competed, not direct-appointed. The CO job was posted, as per council’s directive. When the current employee’s probation quietly completed, this creating a hiring dilemma for the District. We asked about that, and have not yet received an answer.
- CRD Director appointment at maternity leave. We reported on Councillor Rick Kasper’s attempt to leverage a temporary appointment as Director into a permanent position when the mayor went on maternity leave. SPN reported on a Vancouver Island resolution that addressed that issue.
- Redefining freedom of express. We questioned it when the District reinvented the definition of Freedom of Expression. The District then issued a three-page press release throughout the Greater Victoria area, mentioning Santowski by name six times and addressing SPN in eight of their nine points. A Greater Victoria media frenzy ensued, and included both TV and Radio coverage. While we did meet with the mayor, a request to meet with a councillor was denied.
- Shhhh it’s a special meeting. And most recently, SPN questioned the quietly hosted Special Council meeting from August 3rd. Our questions on that matter have not yet received a response.
So, yeah, we ask questions, some of them difficult.
We occasionally take time out of our busy bits of questioning to wonder where the heck the other media players are, but with or without them, our questions will continue.
What we will not do is perpetuate falsehoods, of any magnitude.
SPN Eye on Council
- District’s past failure to communicate shocks family with this unexpected $2,000 memorial dedication bill
- Delegation reveals Sooke Council divided on being informed
- DELEGATION: Recent bad Council decision tied to the lack of an up-to-date OCP
- District of Sooke grants improper business licence, violates its own zoning
- Expenses for top officials in Sooke increased dramatically
- Criticism is confused with defamation and harassment
- Nov 14, 2016 Council Meeting takeaways: Overview
- District employees vs contractors, and too many shades of grey
- EDITORIAL: SPN differentiates between “bullying” and “asking questions”
- RCMP investigates harassment
- Open Letter: Reminder that Council can change bylaws; administration cannot
- District hiring dilemma: Ignore Council directive, or direct-appoint $460K contract
- District of Sooke quietly hosts Special Meeting
- Letter: Is the Sooke Director of Corporate Services staying or going? Sooke resident calls for leadership
- Interim Sooke Fire Chief will be former Colwood Fire Chief Russ Cameron
- Sooke Fire Chief Steven Sorensen hangs up his helmet
- Legal letters to SPN “not a District thing”
- The District of Sooke is hiring: “Director of Corporate Services and Corporate Officer”
- SPN Takeaways: Regular Sooke Council Meeting, July 11, 2016
- Mayor Tait invites dialogue, would like to see Sooke’s progress and successes highlighted
- CFAX1070 interviews Britt Santowski regarding harassment in Sooke
- Both sides of the story presented on CHEK News
- District of Sooke News Release: Freedom of Expression in Sooke
- Editorial: Freedom of speech in Sooke must be constructive
- Bullying, harassment of District officials, Councillors will not tolerated
- Sooke resident raises many questions wants dialogue, transparency, answers
- Sooke Council passes motion in spite of “strong” staff recommendation
- District severance decision appealed
- LETTER: Sooke CAO clears up inaccuracies
- LETTER: Quiet and possibly expensive policy shift happening at Sooke’s Municipal Hall
- Sooke Mayor and Council 100% in support of new CAO
- Why keeping an eye on municipal council matters. A lot. SPN observation from March 14 Council meeting
- Navigating through fog: Sooke Mayor speaks with CBC’s Gregor Craigie about mat leave
- Clarification on the implications of yesterday’s AVICC unanimous motion
- What do you get with a room full of politicians discussing parental leave? Unanimous consent digging us out of the dark ages. #BecauseIts2016
- Editorial: Sooke Council appointed temporary CRD Director and Alternate
- No joke: Sooke’s elected mayor returns to Office
- Regular Council meeting displayed fine example of the money-shuffle spin, March 14 SPN Takeaways
- LETTER: Insecurity in the absence of Leadership
- CAO speaks to effective management through teamwork, collaboration, and role clarity
- Current (acting) mayor slaps the wrists of social media at last night’s Council meeting
- Letter: Leave the heavy lifting for the mayor’s return, focus on maintenance for now
- Longstanding local business owner denied request to appear as delegation at Sooke council meeting
- Sooke staff is slim and trim
- And this week’s mayor in Sooke is…
- Hiring practices at the District of Sooke questionable
- Teresa Sullivan is the new CAO for Sooke
- Changes to Arts funding via community grants in Sooke