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Legal letters to SPN “not a District thing” — 27 Comments

  1. The first letter would have worried me a bit but the second letter would frighten me and if I was a journalist, it would ryle me to go public too !

  2. To be not a “District Thing” by my definition, the two written letters would have be paid for privately and not by District funds. If the letters were paid for with District funds then they are a District Thing. That is an important distinction.

  3. I thought we learned better than to “Question authority” here in Sooke. “shame the curious, reprimand the brave, shun the non-belivers” should be Sookes town motto

  4. Both of the following statements are true:

    1. The potential for conflict of interest exists if a hiring manager or member of a hiring committee has a prior relationship with a candidate for a position. (And it raises cause for concern when that is not disclosed by an elected official)

    2. It is not illegal or necessarily even improper to hire someone you know and have worked with previously.

    Asserting that Councillor Reay may have had a conflict of interest in this matter is not defamatory, and Paul Hildebrand should know that.

    The facts are that the Councillor knew Sullivan prior to the hiring process and did not recuse herself or disclose that relationship, and that Ms. Sullivan was hired in part due to the support of the Councillor. That’s certainly reasonable grounds for speculation.

  5. Despite this CAO hiring issue, Sooke District residents should be happy to have one that is engaged in District affairs. It has been a revolving door for CAO’s in Sooke District’s 17 year history. We can’t keep them for what ever reasons. It is more important to me what they do then how they got there. Let’s not drive another one away.

    • Good point. If the taxpayers paid then it is a municipal matter. And it is serious if those two acted without first consulting mayor and other council members.

    • The Mayor stated that the this was nothung to do with the Municipality of Sooke and was purely a matter between private citizens. Therefore, there should be no record of District paying for such services in this instance.

  6. Both those letters seem to.speak as if they are speaking for mayor and council. Seems like Ms. Tait needs to reign in her councilors and staff. Seems they ran a bit rampant while she was on mat leave too.

    • Certainly the letter sent on behalf of Ms. Reay mentions, often, ‘Councillor Kerrie Reay’ and not Ms. Reay. If it were a private citizen making such legal representation then surely they would not be refer to themselves in an elected capacity would they?

  7. Interesting that the mayor,council & staff are still thinking that it’s them against the taxpayers of Sooke.

  8. The issue here is, no matter what is said, the perception of the public is likely to be nothing other than…. District and Council were fully aware that the letters were being sent out.
    As mentioned above, if a district employee and a councillor are acting alone to try and stifle inquiries of District and Council matters (which by the tone of the letters seems to be the case) without advising the Mayor and the rest of Council in advance then there is a major problem.

  9. Hmm…if I was being questioned publicly about my job performance, and I had my lawyer (who sometimes was under contract with my employer) write a letter to the criticizing party to protect my personal interests, my boss would probably fire me! Especially if I didn’t give the professional courtesy to my boss in advance that I was going to do this. No matter how you look at this, it is a conflict of interest in Reay’s and Sullivan’s actions that has again brought controversy and disdain towards Council and negatively reflected on Sooke.
    Mayor Tait…..please get rid of these people, and send Kasper, Pearson and Berger packing too!

  10. So Im wondering how the statement ” Hiring practices at the District of Sooke are questionable” can be WRONG? We are questioning it! It has been a long time now with Councillor Reay and Mrs. Sullivan trying to shut it down but so far have just attracted more attention because they won’t answer the questions except to say WRONG WRONG! Its a shame it went this far and that the Mayor has stood behind her work mates and given the news interviews that should have been done by those who started all this while the Mayor was away.
    I see by all the comments here that the public is still questioning in-house decisions by these members and think that Mr. Hildebrand will be sending more letters out on behalf of his clients.
    name and address withheld

  11. Mayor Tait says that the two letters were sent when she was away on maternity leave. She says that she was unaware of them. However, it appears that Councilor Reay and Mrs. Sullivan clearly identified that they were talking about council business and they tried to intimidate SPN with legal threats because they didn’t like the questions being asked. I believe that an independent committee needs to look at whether the sending of these letters was a misuse of office by Councilor Reay and Mrs. Sullivan. And for future hirings, I would hope that the town council has learned that they need to make more of an effort to recruit people from within Sooke rather than just posting job opportunities on a website.

  12. I wonder if Mayor actually meant by saying the district will not pursue any action but what about the “individual”?
    Since it is a Council decision does the Council have to agree? Or can she do it on her own?

  13. I would like to know if the inaccuracies that Kerrie Reay has said on her Facebook page are actual inaccuracies. Have those been corrected of there and what’s the proof if they aren’t? Let’s talk about what was actually reported.

  14. Per his firm’s website, it seems as though Paul A. Hildebrand is responsible for government clients. It reads that Paul A. Hildenbrand “is responsible for the conduct of our local government clients’ litigation matters, including defense of claims, insurance matters, suing other parties, injunctions, appeals, and other litigation related matters.”

    The question is, therefore, is the District of Sooke a client? And, is the Mayor lying (therefore)?

    What if the Mayor is lying, and indeed the District did pay for the Hildrebrand’s services and the letters that were sent? Should she resign immediately?

    Reference below with website content.

    From: http://lidstone.info/people/lawyers/paul-a-hildebrand/

    —————————————————-

    Paul A. Hildebrand

    604.899.2269

    Email Paul
    Paul A. Hildebrand
    Associate Counsel

    Paul is Associate Counsel at Lidstone & Company. Paul is the head of the law firm’s Litigation Department. He won the Gold Medal in law at the University of British Columbia in 1980. Paul has a Doctorate in Economics in addition to his Law Degree and Master of Science degree in mathematics. For nearly 29 years, Paul Hildebrand has practiced law in the area of complex litigation, including a 12 year stint with McAlpine & Company, one of the leading complex litigation firms in Canada. Paul is responsible for the conduct of our local government clients’ litigation matters, including defense of claims, insurance matters, suing other parties, injunctions, appeals, and other litigation related matters. He also has expertise in regard to arbitration, mediation and conciliation. He has done securities work, including financings for public and private companies, and real estate transactions.
    EDUCATION

    PhD, Economics, University of British Columbia
    LLB, University of British Columbia
    BSc, University of British Columbia

    MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS

    Law Society of British Columbia

    Canadian Bar Association, Municipal Law Section
    AWARDS AND HONOURS

    Gold Medal, University of British Columbia

  15. I think the answer to the above question lies in this article below. Paul A. Hildebrand is an Associate for Lidstone & Company — see his webpage here http://lidstone.info/people/lawyers/paul-a-hildebrand/

    It seems that the District of Sooke contracted with Lidstone in the past. Without tender.

    The letters are from Paul Hildebrand. It is highly likely that the District paid for these — as it seems Paul Hildeband works for governments, according to the his own firms — and not individual clients.

    Case closed. The people of Sooke, and the public of Vancouver Island, are being played for fools.

    See below. From:
    http://www.sookenewsmirror.com/news/132069563.html?mobile=true

    Article:

    “Deal struck without tender
    By PIRJO RAITS
    October 19, 2011 · Updated 9:56 AM

    The District of Sooke and Lidstone and Company Law Corporation have entered into a five-year agreement that will see the district pay the legal firm $570,000 in fees. The agreement signed in-camera in September was done without going to public tender. In 2011 the district’s legal bills were approx. $13,000/month.

    Evans stated that the legal bills of the municiplaity were high largely due to citizens of Sooke challenging every move made by the district. She named names, including Mrs. Hall, Mrs. Lwers, Fred von Ilberg, Terrance Martin and Councillor Herb Haldane.

    Evans is also asking the RCMP to investigate who might have leaked the contract information to the media.

    Haldane said Evans was pointing the finger at the exposer rather than the issue. “I didn’t leak anything out,” he stated.”

  16. Glad the last writer brought up the question of the immense amount of legal fees that were paid out annual (whether services were used or not) by the Council of the day under CAO Evan Parliament. If people remember, Councilours Kasper and Haldane were quick to throw then CAO Evan Parliament under the bus stating that the CAO was wasting tax payers money through these exorbitant legal contracts and that this lack of fiduciary responsibility was one of the reasons why they ended up turfing the CAO, yet they were the ones who “behind closed doors” agreed to enter into such a contract with the law firm. Isn’t it interesting how familiar this now smells again! I’d love to see a financial breakdown of annual legal fees over the past 10 years to see if the trend has increased or decreased.
    BTW, Kasper as Finance Committee Chair “guaranteed” that these legal fees would go down dramatically after he coordinated the coup against CAO Evan Parliament. Have they? I doubt it!

  17. It is unfortunate that Sooke residents are only now recognizing a pattern of coup’s The first coup within the Chamber of Commerce went unnoticed by voters in the last election.

  18. There is a bit of discussion above concerning who actually paid the legal firm engaged ‘privately’ to send out the letters.

    To shut this element of the debate up, once and for all aII, I wish Sooke District or the ‘private indivuduals’ would make a statement as to where the funds actually came from and show evidence as such.

    Were the legal services privately funded by private individuals as suggested or did the District, ultimately the tax payers, pay for those ‘private’ letters to be sent out by the law firm?

    That is one question, among many, that should be pursued by the media.