Colwood mayor collars councillor
Another quits committee in fracas over politician with an attitude
Colwood Mayor Dave Saunders has stripped one of his councillors of his committee duties for his “negativity” — prompting another councillor to resign from a committee in solidarity.
Saunders stripped Coun. Brian Tucknott of his chairmanship of the municipality’s protective services committee. Tucknott also sat on the transportation and public infrastructure committee and the mayor’s task force for energy and economic development.
“When the comments or actions of any councillor affects the general running of the city, or I feel that key staff may leave because of those comments or actions, then I am forced to make a decision,” Saunders said.
Tucknott’s firing prompted Coun. Ernie Robertson to resign as a member of the protective committee, although Saunders says we won’t accept Robertson’s resignation and expects him to show up.
Tucknott said the mayor told him he was being stripped of his duties on committees and task forces because his critical comments were reflecting negatively on the mayor and city. Saunders said he would not get into specifics or repeat Tucknott’s statements, which he found offensive.
“I have previously spoken to Coun. Tucknott about some of his remarks. I have spoken to all of council incamera about conduct and public remarks and some members of council continue to make those statements and negative statements publicly that are affecting staff morale and city business in my opinion,” Saunders said.
Tucknott has been critical of the city’s handling of a number of issues, including the closure of the bridge at Esquimalt Lagoon, a recent legal loss over sewer debt in the Esquimalt Lagoon area and Saunders’ goal of transforming Colwood into a green learning centre.
In February, Tucknott called an engineering staff report on the use of gas-tax funds to repair the bridge a DTOF — Designed to Fail — report. “The entire document was designed to find reasons for not saving the bridge,” said Tucknott, who also wrote a letter to the editor of the Times Colonist taking aim at Colwood’s administration for “private agendas.”
Calling Saunders “a vindictive little prick without the ability for logical thought,” Tucknott said he doesn’t see how the situation can be resolved.
“It is the most dysfunctional organization with which I have ever been associated and there is absolutely no leadership,” Tucknott said.
Saunders, meanwhile, said there is no dysfunction, only two councillors who are constantly in disagreement with everyone else.
Robertson, Colwood’s longest-serving councillor, said he wants Saunders to reappoint Tucknott, whom he previously described as the only other council member who isn’t a “green kook.”
“It looks like the mayor now is resorting to firing anybody who dares utter a word contrary to the views he shares. So it’s dictatorship in Bumblewood,” Robertson said.
He said he had been fielding calls and e-mails all day from angry constituents — many of whom are seniors — who want an explanation from Saunders.
“City hall is not a nice place to be today. It’s a very insular place where the mayor and his select group make all the decisions and only portions of those decisions already made seem to appear at the council table when they absolutely need ratification,” Robertson said.