CLASSIC ROBERT WOODLAND ‘DISCRETION’: ‘It’s not that you’re on the voters list…it’s that you’re eligible to be on the voters’ list’

VETERAN CITY OF VICTORIA LEGISLATIVE SERVICE BUREAUCRAT

IS IN AN APPARENT CONFLICT OF INTEREST

 

City of Victoria should have brought in impartial scrutineers

 

Robert Woodland, top bureaucrat at Victoria City Hall, is in an apparent conflict of interest because he is also the person responsible for the final count of the Johnson Street Bridge ‘Alternative Approval Process’ (AAP) just ended yesterday.

How can an appearance of ethical and legal propriety be maintained when the City of Victoria‘s top civil servant is also charged with extraordinary so-called ‘discretionary powers’ to accept or reject petitions on this highly contentious issue?

Similar questions have been raised by this writer and others in past elections, but this is the first time that Mr. Woodland has presided over an apparently successful counterpetition pertaining to a budget of at least $63,000,000, making it the biggest infrastructure project in the City of Victoria’s history to be threatened by popular organized opposition.

As such, and because of the unusual number of irregularities in the flawed process already noted here at the CCC BLOG and by other writers such as Yule Heibel, Ross Crockford and Mat Wright of JohnsonStreetBridge.org, Victoria City Councillor Geoff Young, Former City Manager Don Roughley, letter writer Avery Moore and many others, City Council should have taken precautions to have Mr. Woodland recuse himself from performing such duties, and appointed a contingent of impartial scrutineers with absolutely no association with either management or unionized staff at Victoria City Hall to perform the task.

I have to be careful what I write here, as I have already suffered the indignity of receiving a stern lawyer’s letter from this same man when I had the temerity to criticize his past performance in a similar capacity during a past Victoria election campaign.

He warned me to publicly retract some derogatory statements I made during an online interview with the B. C. Independent Business Association (or some similarly-named organization) and subsequently also published in the business section of the Times Colonist, about his performance of duties as Chief Electoral Officer during that election.

The threatening lawyer’s letter demanded that I pay for the insertion of the retraction in an advertisement published in the Times Colonist newspaper.

Although I was sure that I had not infracted any libel laws, and was ready to see him in any court, I prudently heeded the advice of Ron MacIsaac, lead counsel for the Concerned Citizens’ Coalition, and wrote the retraction, albeit in such a way as not to implicate myself legally, and at the same time to satisfy Mr. Woodland’s hurt ego.

I never admitted that I had done what Mr. Woodland’s lawyer’s letter accused me of doing, but apparently denied it in such an ambiguous way as to satisfy them that I had not actually defamed or libeled him. 

I have subsequently noticed that he appears to treat me with slightly more personal respect after this misadventure, on the rare occasions when we have any ‘legislative’ election business to take care of at his office at City Hall.

Nevertheless, I still believe that Robert Woodland sometimes abuses his ‘discretionary powers’ when determining who can and cannot stand as candidates in Victoria elections, as I have been the victim of such capricious ‘discretion.’

Because of this direct experience of this abuse, I seriously question whether he will be able to scrutinize these petitions to a ‘reasonable standard,’ as he promises to do in a front page article by Bill Cleverley in the Times Colonist today, January 5, 2009.

It has not escaped my notice that Mr. Woodland enjoys extraordinary power at Victoria City Hall.

When Victoria City Councillors are not sure about proper procedures or protocols during Council meetings, they often defer to this man.

Tellingly, he sits rights below Mayor Dean Fortin in the current arrangement of seats in the Council Chamber during meetings of the Victoria City Council.

He is a longstanding fixture of the management structure at Victoria City Hall who should concern himself strictly with those duties outlined in his job description, and not be involved in any part of the scrutinizing activity of the current AAP, or in any further civic elections, for that matter. 

[For a link to the Bill Cleverley article, please refer to the Comments section below.]

 

– Gregory Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

CCC

 

 

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3 Responses to CLASSIC ROBERT WOODLAND ‘DISCRETION’: ‘It’s not that you’re on the voters list…it’s that you’re eligible to be on the voters’ list’

  1. HermannKE says:

    This is really unbelivable. I cannot believe in this article.

  2. goyodelarosa says:

    Believe it or not, HermannKE, all of the above is true, otherwise what would have been the point of writing it down?

    I have already had an expensive run-in with this gentleman, but I took the risk of exposing this abuse anyway, after the fact, in the interest of setting the historical record straight, and as a warning to others.

    Enough is enough, I say!

    Gregory Hartnell (‘Goyo de la Rosa’)
    President,
    Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

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