LETTERS: Lesson missed in FOI audit

LETTERS: Lesson missed in FOI audit

Editor: Re: City’s reaction to FOI audit catches mayor off-guard, Nov. 28.

Editor:

Re: City’s reaction to FOI audit catches mayor off-guard, Nov. 28.

Despite receiving the desire-for-change message from the electorate, White Rock city staff still persist in treating the residents as the enemy – as they did before.

City manager Dan Bottrill had authorized a statement publicly designating residents’ FOI requests as “frivolous” and/or “vexatious,” and his only concession to change was limited to saying it should not have used those precise words in what I saw as an attempt to ignore the findings and gloss over city’s pattern of illegal behaviour (Audit criticism blames on ‘vexatious’ FOIs, Nov. 23). So, business as usual as far as Bottrill is concerned.

To add insult to injury, it’s not clear who wrote the first response statement posted on the city website that was subsequently modified after intervention by the new mayor, Darryl Walker. Even the second version leaves a lot to be desired, considering the findings of the audit.

The Audit & Compliance Program of the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for BC (OIPC) last month highlighted that the City of White Rock failed to meet legislated timelines in 46 per cent of sampled files and effectively “punished” persistent residents with more lengthy delays than others.

Furthermore, White Rock took an average of 22 days longer to respond to requests by recurrent applicants; took an average of 13 business days to forward requests to city departments – a short walk down the hall – to begin the search for records; and did not retain all relevant documentation in 26 per cent of sampled files.

Clearly, the city has been found both guilty of contravention of B.C. law and wanting with respect to handling FOI requests.

The city needs to recognize its wilful culpability over the FOI affair and apologize to all its residents for its egregious behaviour towards its own citizens over the last eight years. The city needs to guarantee that FOI requests will treated fairly and fully in accordance with Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Some significant “spring cleaning” of city hall will be required to fulfil the pledges and promises made by the incoming mayor and council and the wishes of the electorate.

Keith Knightson, White Rock

Just Posted

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Doris Anderson’s digital triptych Aberration, which she is marketing as an NFT.
Semiahmoo Peninsula abstract painter dives into NFT market

Works sold as one-of-a-kind digital files

Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Teacher’s elbow injury case against Surrey School District, WorkSafeBC struck by judge

Judge says processes put in place by legislation, collective agreement must be followed

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Surrey School District building. (File photo)
Naming schools after settler, historical figure ‘can be quite problematic’: Surrey school district

District working closely with Semiahmoo First Nation on naming three schools

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read