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CVRD’s Elected Political Representatives No Match For the Cunning CAO Brian Carruthers

Richard 'Hub' HughesIn the hurly burly world of CVRD politics the senior staff have come out the winners. Their role and influence trumps that of our elected representatives.

This is especially true with the $200 thousand plus per year CAO Brian Carruthers, a charming and capable controller who dominates today’s political culture at the CVRD.

Following the Board’s unanimous vote rejecting any new LNG facilities in the entire Cowichan Valley the CAO, General Manager of Planning Ross Blackwell and Chair Jon Lefebure had a meltdown of sorts.

Jon Lefebure

Jon Lefebure

There seems to have been a delayed response that took a couple of days to kick in.

But once they had fully grasped the fact that the elected folks had actually initiated and carried out a directive in response to a rumoured Steelhead LNG proposal to establish a floating LNG facility with the Malahat Nation they hatched out a plan to counter the elected officials directive.

Brian Carruthers

Brian Carruthers

Chair Lefebure, Carruthers and Blackwell went to work to undermine our elected officials, casting shadows on the appropriateness and legality of the unanimously supported action opposing LNG facilities locating in the Regional District.

The Directors were warned that the CVRD could be sued.

Steelhead CEO Nigel Kuzemeko

Steelhead CEO Nigel Kuzemeko

Steelhead LNG’s CEO had previously discussed their proposal with General Manager of Planning, Ross Blackwell, but an application has yet to have been forwarded and the Directors were never fully advised of exchanges between Steelhead and Blackwell. One wonders.

The motion to oppose LNG facilities was ushered in by Cowichan Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo and seconded by Duncan’s Alternate Director Sharon Jackson.

CVRD Director Lori Iannidinardo

CVRD Director Lori Iannidinardo

These two senior politicians then heard about the other Directors concerns generated by this unthinkable project that would receive its gassy payload piped from Washington State through Active pass to the Saanich Inlet.

From there it would be processed and then loaded onto ‘Super Tankers’ that make BC Ferries look like rowboats.

Six Directors spoke out publicly of their many valid concerns for any such LNG proposal in what was the highlight of their term so far.

Yet staff took it upon themselves to ignore their unanimous directive and set about scheming to undermine the will of the board.  In the end they hope to persuade our elected representatives into flip flopping on one of the valley’s most important political developments.

Jack Woodward QC

Jack Woodward QC

On Wednesday, February 24th, the unanimously passed anti LNG facility motion was designated by staff to be subjected to another ‘In Camera’ meeting.

The Directors had already been influenced by the CAO, Planning Manager and Chair Lefebure’s pronouncements that there were legal problems that had to be addressed.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that questionable get together.

The CVRD CAO then hired a lawyer to get a legal opinion on the motion. The lawyer, Mr. Johnson, was actually present during the secret meeting. No expense is to be spared to prop up the controllers agenda.

LNG Super Tanker

LNG Super Tanker

Wouldn’t you like to see the questions the CAO asked the lawyer, and then read the citizen funded legal opinion that was used to undermine the democratic decision of the Board?

Was there a lawyer there to represent the unanimous view of opposition expressed at the February 10th meeting?

Of course not! Why not?

Will they be trying to rescind the motion opposing LNG facilities locating in our region? We’ll see.

I will provide readers with lawyer Jack Woodward QC’s response to the CVRD’s legal opinion sometime over the weekend. It is a breath of fresh air.

Clearly CAO Carruthers sees ‘In Camera’ as a three ‘C’ proposition. Comfort, Convenience and Control.

The entire valley is poorly served as a result.

Floating LNG Facility

Massive Floating LNG Facility


15 comments to CVRD’s Elected Political Representatives No Match For the Cunning CAO Brian Carruthers

  • Bobby Vinton

    The CAO has avery difficult job. He /she has to navigate through the political storms and hope to hell his staff act appropriately. the shelf life of a good CAO isnt very long, the shelf life of a poor one is a blink of an eye.

    The CAO is the leader who tries to smooth out political wrinkles while at the same time ensure the staff are doing their job. Its a tough job indeed and some credit is due.

    • CKRD taxpayer

      Bobby V, here’s the problem: Carruthers is NOT a leader. He destroyed Williams Lake (the police investigations are still not finished), and he tried to divide and conquer West Kootenay Regional District (we had the good sense to get rid of him after just 20 months on the job when he showed his real colours by suspending our fire chief for “insubordination” and ignored the Directors wishes in “Furniture-gate”). CVRD drew the short straw when they hired him. He’s incompetent, egotistical, and worse. He forms alliances with those he thinks have the power and uses those relationships to keep himself in the job. He needs to go.

  • Sean Hannigan

    Goodbye wineries, agriculture and scenic vistas, hello developers..c’mon in!

  • Chris reed

    And nothing from the 100 000 plus communications manager what an oxymoron!

  • Don Williamson

    Its not difficult to be a CAO, you are hired to represent the Directors. Senior staff are hired to support the CAO.

    There is a breakdown of communication between the Directors, senior staff and the CAO- and we are paying for it. This won’t stop, we have some rotten apples in senior management and a few Directors drinking the cider.

  • Patrick Walls

    Next election doesnt come soon enough. If the directors continue to pander to these two senior staffers Im voting another bunch of Directors in or maybe we should just offer these senior staffers an exit pardon.

  • It seems to be a general problem, that the staff not only wag the elected council dog,there are never any repercussions for the frequent errors. Just the same old “mistakes” over and over. It seems to me that the staff are running our cities, and giving direction to the elected directors. And their performance reviews are never in public, IF there are any. In fact, altogether too many meetings in camera.

  • Ron Waller

    Another case where Lefebure shows his weak leadership by letting this CAO dictator continue with his agenda. Same thing happens in North Cowichan. Other than our CAO’s the one main problem in the valley is the ineptness of Jon Lefebure who is either afraid of the CAO’s or in bed with them.

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