Councillor challenged for role as fire fighter

Harrison Hot Springs councilor challenged in court for role as fire fighter

  • Dec. 15, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The election may be over, but a legal issue over candidacy is still brewing in Harrison Hot Springs.

Newly-elected Councilor Richard Shelley is being challenged by failed council candidate Andrew Baziuk, for what he’s calling a lack of disclosure regarding Shelley’s position as a firefighter with the Village’s fire department.

“I have nothing against him being a firefighter,” Baziuk told The Observer this week. “But you can’t be both (a firefighter and a councilor).”

Baziuk has filed papers with the Supreme Court, petitioning for Shelley to be disqualified as a councilor. He delivered those papers to Shelley last week, and a court date to set a hearing date was scheduled for early this week.

Baziuk is also asking the court to name him as a councillor in Harrison Hot Springs. Of the nine candidates running for Harrison’s four council seats, Baziuk ranked fifth, earning 269 votes. Shelley earned 284 votes in the November 19 election.

Baziuk’s petition to the court states that Shelley was required to request a leave of absence from the fire department before seeking election. He filed a Freedom of Information request with the Village upon learning that Shelley was a “paid on call” firefighter. He was looking for proof that Shelley asked for a leave, but according to a reply from the Village to the FOI, no papers could be found on record.

Baziuk says that a councilor holding a position as a firefighter within the same Village is a conflict of interest, because it’s council that makes decisions on funding for its fire department.

But Shelley told the Observer the need for weekday firefighters in the Village is of greater importance, and he has no intention of leaving the firehall.

“I am one of only four firemen who are out here during the week,” Shelley said. While membership is at a high point for the hall, many of the firefighters are away from the Village during the work week.

As it happens, Shelley said he has not yet been called out to a fire since joining the department earlier this year. He said he has also asked to not be paid for any work with the department from October 1 forward.

“I perceive Mr. Baziuk to be a very sore loser,” Shelley said.

Village CAO Ted Tisdale said that if the court decides that Shelley should be disqualified from council, it would also decide whether Baziuk would step in as councilor, or if a by-election would have to be held.

A by-election would cost the Village anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000, and would follow the same basic process as a general election. The Village has also been named in the petition. It asks that the Village of Harrison Hot Springs pays special costs on the grounds that the Chief Election Officer breached duty to commence a challenge under section 75 of the Local Government Act.

Shelley said he understood that the UBCM recently made a resolution to allow volunteer firefighters to also run for council, and presumably sit on council.

The Observer had not received confirmation on that resolution by press time.

news@ahobserver.com

 

Related story:

Inaugural Harrison Hot Springs council meeting

 

 

 

Just Posted

Enrolment, EA increases make for no surprises in updated school district budget

The budget reflects changes that were made after recieving provincial funds in December

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Prices still rising, Chilliwack real estate back in balanced territory

Local market is steadier compared to points west with higher increase in average sale price

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Most Read