Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Terry Siklenka Resigns

I have heard that Terry Siklenka as resigned from Central Saanich council via the media.   Possibly the right move if he really is going to be out of the country for such a long time, but hard to know with out a lot more information.   Last week I considered the situation and ultimately could not form an informed opinion because I did not know enough.  I did not think Central Saanich did themselves any favours by not releasing the information. 

I personally think Terry Siklenka is a decent guy, I do not know him well but what interactions I have had certainly indicated to me he was interested in improving Central Saanich and had a personal drive to be on council.   I am disappointed that he did not either resign right away or disclose more about why he was away.   His resignation should end the whole issue but the mayor himself has extended it because of his actions.

I heard on CFAX that the mayor has made documents available for people to see what was done with respect to the leave of absence.   This is the sort of information that I thought the council should have released when they made their decision to grant a leave of absence.   The problem is that I can not find the information on the Central Saanich website.    The resignation apparently happened yesterday but as of today the municipality still lists him as a councilor and has not issued any press release I can see that he has in fact resigned.   I am not sure why Central Saanich staff can not remove him from the website or why posting a press release has not been done?

I looked at the agenda for last night's council meeting and there is nothing about the pending resignation of Terry Siklenka.   It would have taken a moment to post the updated agenda and add the relevant background materials.  I am not not entirely clear why this would not happen?  

More and more there odd bits of information coming out of the media that really means Central Saanich needs to explain what they knew and when:

  • Did they know he was in the Cayman Islands and working there?
  • How long a leave did he ask for and if it was for a year but council only granted six months, why?
  • What materials did council receive that backed his request for a leave of absence?
  • Why was the decision made in camera?   This was not a personnel issue or a contractual issue.   A request for a leave of absence is a public thing that is done to avoid a councilor being removed from office for missing meetings of council.  The use of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act was in my opinion likely used inappropriately.   To be clear, taking job somewhere else would not apply, a divorce process (which I am not saying it is) or such would not be a reason to grant a leave.   It sounds it could be health issues, but that does not jive with calling it personal reasons and with working in the Caymans.
  • Health issues do not require a leave of absence so what is causing him to request a leave

I am wondering if council was told one story and something else was going on and now they feel chagrined?   Clearly whatever the reason was it was more than persuasive for all but one council members to support the request for leave.   Only Zeb King voted against it but I have to wonder if that is because he is very much on the other side from Terry Siklenka.

I have found materials at the Saanich Voice Online and the blocked word in much of the correspondence seems to be about six characters long.  Now we all wonder what it was about and will try to fill in the blanks.   This is not fair to Terry Siklenka now that he is a private citizen.

Ultimately Terry Siklenka choose to be a public figure and owed the public a clear explanation why he needed a leave or otherwise he should have resigned.   As a someone that chooses to be a public figure he has a duty to act in a more open and transparent manner than as a private person, he should have disclosed why he wanted the leave or he should have resigned right away.   His decision to resign is one that should end all of this.

The final thing I would add to this is that I think the Central Saanich staff advising council do not seem to understand the role of council as a governance body and are not giving good advice in this case.   The staff has made the mayor and council look secretive and conspiratorial.   The staff will not have to carry the can for this mistake, it will be the council members.
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