At a recent Rossland Council meeting I asked Mayor Greg Granstrom and CAO Victor Kumar some questions about the activities of the City’s Building Inspector, Jason Ward. I had been informed by a citizen that Mr. Ward, doing business as Alberni Associates, was advertising his services as a Building Designer on the website of the Building Designers Institute of BC (BDIBC) bdibc.bc.ca/find.php?r=wk.
Mayor Granstrom and Mr. Kumar refused to answer my questions and requested that I put them in writing. While this is the first time in my many years on Council I can recall such a request, I’m happy to oblige.
First, I asked if they could confirm that, if Mr. Ward was offering his services as a building designer in Rossland, none of his designs had been submitted to the City with a request for Mr. Ward to issue a Building Permit based on those designs.
I think most people would, if that were happening, consider such a situation as a conflict of interest.
Second, I asked if either had authorized Mr. Ward to advertise a City cell phone number or the City’s fax number on the BDIBC website as the contact numbers for his private business. As is well known, the Community Charter prohibits the City from providing assistance to a private business. If Mr. Ward was advertising the City’s phone numbers without authorization, I think most people would consider that as unethical behaviour.
Third, I asked if they could explain why the 2010 detailed Revenue and Expenses Statements showed the cell phone costs for the Building Inspection function to be a total of $6,733, more than three times the budgeted costs. (I had to obtain the statements under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act because Mr. Kumar refused to give me a copy even though all Councillors are entitled to that information.)
Further, I asked if it could be confirmed that none of these cell phone costs were related to Mr. Ward’s private business activities.
Fourth, I asked for an explanation of why the Building Inspector’s salary costs were shown in the 2010 Revenue and Expenses Statements to be more than 12 per cent higher than the budgeted amount.
I wonder why Mayor Granstrom and Mr. Kumar were reluctant to answer my questions?
Note: Charlton is a member of Rossland city council