The British Columbia Housing Management Commission's chief executive officer has married the head of a community organization that does millions of dollars of work with the Crown agency. As a result, the minister responsible for BC Housing has said the CEO, Shane Ramsay, has recused himself from any decisions relating to that organization or the property management company it owns. In an interview with Public Eye, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman confirmed Mr. Ramsay married Janice Abbott on June 11.
Combined, the two organization will receive approximately $7.7 million from BC Housing in fiscal 2010/100 through 36 contracts. In addition, the Crown agency is providing approximately $15 million in capital financing grants and $11.9 million in mortgage financing for two projects under construction that will be managed and operated by Atira.
Minister Coleman said Mr. Ramsay took steps to address any potential conflict of interest arising from his relationship with Ms. Abbott as soon as they started dating "a number of months ago."
That means any Atira-related decisions at BC Housing will now be made by the Crown agency's senior staff, without reference or consultation with Mr. Ramsay. In the event such a decision requires consideration by the Crown agency's executive committee, Mr. Ramsay will recuse himself from that process.
"I can assure you that everything was done that had to be done - and then some. They were very cautious about it," said the minister, adding, "I'm really happy for both of them actually."
"This is great for Shane and Janet. They're both good people. Janet's organization Atira is one of the really good non-profit operators we have. And Shane, of course, is just a phenomenal CEO - he's probably the best in the country at what he does."