Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ross Buchanan


August 29, 2014               Extracted Excerpt from


Check your bank accounts. In my opinion, we are all being scammed.

Bizarre! That was my experience when I started to take a look at the dollars that we are paying the senior management team at city hall. I started my search by looking at similarly sized communities but as you will soon see I had to escalate my search to cities like Prince George and Victoria, communities that have populations that are three and four times larger than the 19,000 souls we have packed and stacked on top of each other in our little community of under 2 square miles.

After much investigation and after being consistently blocked at every turn by public servants who were determined that this information did not see the light of day I have finally been able to determine that we are paying wages to the management at city hall that is absolutely ludicrous relative to the responsibilities. To learn that we pay Bottrill the CAO of the city of White Rock more than what the Chief of Staff for Obama's White House earns is one thing but to see that we pay him at the level that we do leaves me wondering why. Dennis McDonough the Chief of Staff in the White House earned $172,200 in 2013. The CAO of the cities of Prince George (population of 71,000) and Victoria (population of 80,000) each earn $142,000 and $145,000 respectively. We paid Bottrill $183,944 in 2013. Why? This is White Rock not the White House. Why is the CAO of our little community among the highest paid CAOs in Local Government in BC? He has a fraction of the employees and has a budget that is counted in the millions not the billions yet for some strange reason he is compensated as if he is the CAO of a very large city. I for one would sure like to know why?

And that is just the start. Following in the steps of the inflated compensation we are paying to Bottrill you won't be surprised to find that other members of the senior management team at The Bunker on Buena Vista are also pleasantly

feasting at the public trough. Here are some examples that are revealed in the long awaited release of the Statement of Financial Information by the City of White Rock.

Tracey Arthur (City Clerk) is being paid $108,205 which is more than her equivalent at the City of Victoria which has a population that is 4 times greater than White Rock. Sandra Kurylo, ($146,000) makes more as Director of Finance in White Rock than her equivalent in Victoria. The Operating Budget in Victoria is five times greater than White Rock. In each of these cases, whether it is Bottrill, Arthur or Kurylo they are being paid tens of thousands of dollars more than their counterparts in similarly sized communities with similar responsibilities such as Cranbrook, Port Alberni, Parksville and Pitt Meadows earn.

And now you know why, when compared to our neighbours, we pay a 51% premium on our property taxes in White Rock. One of the reasons is that we are paying big city wages to a management team that has small community responsibilities. This is what you get when you have the former City Manager sitting in the mayor's chair. His allegiance is the senior management of the city rather than to the citizens. 

When it comes to the people of White Rock, not big money out of town developers and speculators and not members of the senior management team at city hall, Baldwin just doesn’t care. From where I sit it looks like we pay the highest salaries for managers of any local government in BC for cities of 100,000 or less. Compared to Prince George and Victoria, White Rock city managers have one quarter the responsibilities and the same pay as if White Rock were a city of 80,000 people with thousands of employees and a billion dollar budget.

Have you noticed that strange smell? That isn't coming up from the beach. That is from The Bunker on Buena Vista. Members of this council have failed in their duty to morally manage the public funds at city hall. It is time for a House Cleaning! They have stood by and allowed this to happen. The contempt that this mayor and all of council, with the exception of Helen Fathers, has shown to the people of White Rock is not just disturbing it is outright disgusting. 

They have abandoned the citizens of White Rock to curry favor with the big money, out of town developers who give them gifts of developers who give them gifts of money to fund their elections campaigns. In White Rock, we clearly have the best local government that money can buy. In my opinion, if you accept gifts of money from developers and speculators you are in a moral conflict of interest and should not be on council.

The following chart clearly shows a comparison of taxes in seventeen medium sized communities across BC. I guess nobody should be surprised that White Rock has the highest taxes of any of the communities. The data below illustrates population, value of representative house, municipal property taxes and total taxes... Yeah!!! We are number one.

White Rock is the heaviest taxed medium sized community in BC.

Salmon Arm 17,464 $ 287,143 $ 1,354 $ 2,094

Penticton 32,877 346,114 1440 2,200

Chilliwack 77,936 331,183 1538 2,220

Coldstream 10,314 439,280 1100 2,254

Cranbrook 19,319 248,208 1753 2,457

Campbell River 31,186 268,323 1545 2,488

West Kelowna 30,892 461,955 1676 2,584

Vernon 38,150 357,595 1104

Kelowna 117,312 448,811 1748

Pitt Meadows 17,736 450,410 1760

Kamloops 85,678 341,525 1755

Port Coquitlam 56,342 528,935 2022

Mission 36,426 392,820 1839

North Vancouver 48,196 891,975 2185

White Rock 19,339 $878,824 $3149 $3,674

 So we have the highest paid civic managers in BC and the highest taxes in BC for a community of our size. Hmmm. I wonder if there could be a relationship between the two?

We need to Clean House at City Hall. We need to stop the Gravy Train. We need take the community back from the Developer-owned mayor and members of council who have fueled this fiscal mismanagement. We need to rid ourselves of this mayor and council members who have taken money from developers and we need a new mayor and new councilors that are more interested in what the Citizens of White Rock want and need rather than where their next financial contribution is coming from.

As a friend of truth and a champion of transparency I remain committed to honesty in government.

See you on the beach


P.S .

One more thing. As I read the UN report that has found that Syria dropped barrels of liquid chlorine on their own people resulting in the deaths of 200,000 people I couldn’t help but think what might happen on our own waterfront. BNSF ships 2900 cars of exactly the same poison, liquefied chlorine, through White Rock each year. Each car contains 90 tons of liquid chlorine that when punctured evaporates into deadly poisonous gas. Rather than 100 gallon barrels being dropped from helicopters what we have in White Rock is the possibility of 90 ton carloads of chlorine tipping onto the rocks at the beach and being punctured. One carload alone will wipe out much of the population of White Rock. Sure wouldn't be pretty would it? Makes me wonder about the value of the real estate on the hillside. The view is nice but the gas could kill you.

In my opinion, Mayor and Council has failed and in fact refused to act on their fiduciary responsibility to citizens as written into BC law in the Community Charter. Their responsibility is to protect the Public Health and the Public Safety of the Citizens of White Rock. With this kind of potential for a catosprophic disaster if even one of those 90 ton chlorine gas cars are punctured I would say that to this point that they have failed miserably. The real danger to the Citizens of White Rock is not the tracks but rather what BNSF is carrying on those tracks. A mesh fence even if you top it off with razor wire isn’t going to stop chlorine gas. Toxic and lethal cargoes are the biggest danger to White Rock in the history of this community. 2900 cars each containing 90 tons of potentially deadly chlorine. We are seconds away from a disaster the immensity of which would make Lac Magentic look like a walk in the park. We are one second away from a catastrophe that will make White Rock famous. And the mayor and council refuse to act to protect the community and the citizens. All words. No action...."

Posted by courtesy Johan Sandstrom,