Clarity sought by White Rock city staff on ‘discretional’ education

City council debates reimbursement eligibility of post-secondary courses.

White Rock city hall.

White Rock city hall.

A request for clarification of White Rock’s council remuneration policy raised more questions than answers at a governance and legislation committee meeting Monday.

Clarification was being sought by city manager, Dan Bottrill, with regard to Policy 106, which allocates funds for “discretional educational conferences or education materials,” and was recently amended to reflect council’s four-year terms. The amounts allocated include $8,000 for the mayor and $5,400 for each councillor.

Bottrill brought the policy to the committee following a request for reimbursement for a college or university course, “to assist with their knowledge of different aspects, whether it be finance, communications, marketing or parks management,” Bottrill said.

Bottrill’s query set off a lengthy discussion amongst council on the wording of the policy and whether university courses would be eligible for reimbursement.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin noted the policy arose as a way for council members to gain insight into areas that would help them make better decisions.

“At the time, council saw the need for the occasional opportunity, where the councillor might take a seminar on land use, or community amenity contributions or zoning, that sort of thing,” Baldwin explained, noting the term ‘discretional educational conferences’ should be “easily distinguished” from other long-term courses.

Coun. Lynne Sinclair agreed, noting that her understanding was that it covered “sessions that help us to be better councillors, not something where someone gets a degree through this process.”

Coun. Helen Fathers suggested the addition of “non-accredited courses” to the wording, however, Coun. Bill Lawrence said he was “apprehensive” to make that amendment, as many post-secondary institutions offer accredited courses as “one-offs.”

“Someone might not be pursuing a full degree, but that one particular course would be beneficial in making them a better councillor,” Lawrence said.

Baldwin said he didn’t anticipate any members of council would be “going crazy” with the reimbursement opportunity.

“I always put out the warning that, hey, if you aren’t sure, just ask yourself the question, would you feel happy if this was on the front page of the Peace Arch News?” Baldwin said.

As the discussion neared the 20-minute mark, Bottrill reiterated the need for some clarity, noting he had already approved such courses for a council member in the previous year, but was still unclear on council’s intentions moving forward.

At the suggestion of Baldwin, the committee referred the issue to be brought back at the July 27 council meeting, with amended wording in the policy.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP are investigating after shots were fired at a white Jeep Saturday evening in Newton. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Police investigating after shots fired in Newton

Surrey RCMP said a silver SUV shot at a white Jeep

This year’s Virtual Hike for Hospice raised just over $30,000 with the support of participants including Marlene. (Contributed photo)
PHOTOS: Virtual hike raises $30K for Peace Arch Hospice Society

Community support smashes fundraising goal

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read