Earlier, we asked the provincial electoral boundary commission whether their executive director would be required to come from a non-partisan background. After all, the citizens' assembly on electoral reform refused to hire future New Democrat MLA Claire Trevena as their communications director because of her politics. But, apparently, the boundary commissioners - who include Liberal supporter Louise Burgart - have decided the same standard doesn't apply to their senior staffer. The reason: in an email sent to Public Eye, the members wrote the executive director will be "responsible for providing the Commission's infrastructure and coordinating the activities of others" but will not be "in a position to make recommendations on behalf of the Commission." And that means anyone from Gerry Scott to Kelly von Reichert (Public Eye passim) could conceivably be hired to that post. The following is a complete copy of that email.
From: Atherton, Betty-Ann AG:EX
Sent: 26 January 2006 10:50
To: Sean Holman
Subject: RE: Electoral Boundaries Commission executive director contract
Dear Mr. Holman
In response to your question, the British Columbia Electoral Boundaries Commissioners provide the following answer:
Each supporting role for the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission (BC-EBC) will be appropriately staffed and resourced based on the requirements of the position.
All contractors and staff working with or employed by the Commission will be required to conduct themselves in a manner that does not compromise public confidence or the independence of the Commission. This is a management practice the Commission will follow to ensure that stakeholder confidence is maintained.
The Executive Director is responsible for providing the Commission's infrastructure and coordinating the activities of others. However, the person filling the role will not be a Commissioner and, as with other contractors and staff of the Commission, will not be in a position to make recommendations on behalf of the Commission.
The Executive Director of the BC-EBC will not act as a spokesperson of the Commission. When communications personnel are selected, the need for neutrality will be addressed as part of the selection process.
If you have further questions, please contact me at your convenience. Thank you
From: Sean Holman [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2006 11:27 AM
To: Atherton, Betty-Ann AG:EX
Subject: Electoral Boundaries Commission executive director contract
Is there a requirement for applicants to be non-partisan or not have a partisan background? I ask because, previously, the citizens' assembly was forced to withdraw an offer of employment to a prospective communications director because of her partisan connections.