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

Harrison continues push for local doctor

Mayor has requested Fraser Health provide primary care services

New surcharge for Harrison boaters

Small boat launch surcharge to fund KHSAR

POLL: How should Harrison deal with goose poop?

Monday’s council meeting raised questions about the best way to handle waste around the beach

Sts’ailes First Nation to vote on land code

Land Code would remove nation from 34 sections of Indian Act

KPU campuses go smoke-free starting Jan. 21 – and that includes vaping

‘We didn’t make this decision lightly’ says prez of the Surrey-based institution

Week in Review – January 19

Movie filming, water upgrades and more

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

E-cig likely the cause of townhouse fire

Smoke and fire damage but no one was hurt in Chilliwack

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Chilliwack board of education asks Neufeld to resign

Neufeld says he intends to stay on as trustee despite vote by peers

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Most Read