With specific reference to Council member John Smith and conflict of interest:
– He is a large booster (Friends of UCFV) or UCFV’s bid for university status
– As a councillor he was and is in a position to influence the decision on what facilities were built and where
– Stated to the audience at a public promotional meeting at UCFV that the Arena was important to/needed for the bid for University status
– Shortly after the results of the vote were announced he was on the phone telling people what a big boost the Yes vote (and thus the arena) was for UCFV’s bid for University status
– Clearly Mr. Smith was in a conflict of interest and should have recused himself had nothing to do with the decision of what to build and where – particularly with respect to the Arena.
Abbotsford City Council as a whole and conflict of interest:
– When faced with a similar position the city of White Rock’s council felt it to be a conflict of interest and unethical for them to actively support the proposal they were placing before the citizens of White Rock.
– Were they correct it is a conflict of interest and thus should Abbotsford’s council have been neutral instead of heavily promoting THEIR plan?
Abbotsford Council ethical behaviour:
– The ethics of using unlimited city assets to promoter plan A.
– Use of city staff to hand out pamphlets and promote plan A.
– Use of city staff on overtime to go around in the evening putting back up Plan A signs blown down by the wind.
– In the final week before the vote having city staff phone the citizens of Abbotsford urging them to get out and vote Yes for plan A.
– The ethics of denying the “No” side access to and use of City property eg. “No” side not allowed to put up displays or distribute literature on city property or at “public meetings”. No side was also told they would be required to pay rent for city facilities the council and Yes promotion used for free.
Abbotsford Council denial for Free Speech:
– The “No” side was not allowed to put up displays or distribute literature on city property or at “public meetings”. The “No” side was also told they would be required to pay rent for city facilities the council and Yes promotion used for free.
– The City used tens of thousands of dollars of City funds to advertise and promote their “Yes” side but refused to even consider or discuss providing funds for the “No “side. In their use of unlimited funds for the “Yes” vote and denial of any funds for the “No” side the City denied the right of free speech and the same access to the voters of Abbotsford to the “No” side.
Questions of conflicts of interest and the buying of city contracts:
– Many construction firms, contractors, suppliers and at least one credit union donated money to the to promote Plan A and/or took out newspaper ads in support of the City’s position
– None of these firms, their family, business associates or partners should be awarded any portion of the financing or construction of Plan A; ideally these firms should not have any dealings with the city and current council
– Any contracts awarded would appear or would be council paying off firms for supporting them on Plan A
– Would give the appearance or be buying city contracts by paying off/paying to support council
– All these firms and council are in a conflict of interest position with any business conducted due to the companies financial support of City staff and council on Plan A.
Questions of timing on bid selection/awarding:
– Vote was held at the end of November: How is it possible to award contracts in January 2007 for ground breaking in April of 2007
– It would seem that the only way this timing could take place is if the City had begun to seek bids before the vote
– If this is the case it would the City is playing favourites and pre-selecting who will be awarded(rewarded) contracts
– Timing is such that no ethical business or persons that waited until the results of the vote were in could bid
– Is the city following the requirements for awarding contracts?
– I have seen no public call/advertisement for bids: how and were was this done and if not why not.
Abbotsford Council ethics and a “sweetheart” deal with Mr. Esposito:
– There is a long history of conflict between Mr. Esposito and the City of Abbotsford including Mr. Esposito suing the City; the city has opposed Mr. Esposito and his Liquor licences and establishments.
– Mr. Esposito owned the property upon which the City Wanted to build the new arena
– After Mr Esposito sold the property to the city his development application received swift approval by council.
– With the history between the City and Mr. Esposito it appears that some kind of under the table deal was reached behind closed doors; especially in light of the City’s lack of ethics and forth rightness vis-à-vis Plan A.
Questions of ethics and conflict of interest for the Board of Governors and President:
– Both parties were closely associated with Councillor John Smith and his obvious conflict of interest between his connection to UCFV and his duties as a Abbotsford City Councillor.
– Despite the obvious conflict of interest between the advantages to UCFV’s bid for University status of having a large arena type complex built next to UCFV and the best interests of the City of Abbotsford the Board of Governors and President actively supported John Smith and Plan A, failing to recuse themselves or inform the public of their conflict of interest.- This lack of ethical awareness raises questions about the fitness of the President and the Board to lead UCFV and the current suitability of the leadership to lead a University.