I recently wrote an open letter to the mayor and council of Grand Forks. I believe the letter itself is a bit too long to be accepted as a letter to the editor, but I’d like to share the key points with your readers.
My letter was sparked by my concern about the conduct of Mayor Frank Konrad at the Monday, Jan. 12 regular city council meeting. I was unable to attend the meeting in person but was able to watch the live video feed of the meeting on gftv.ca.
During discussion around the acceptance of a letter from a citizen about the residential water mtering program, it was suggested by staff that Wayne Kopan (the city’s building inspector) speak to the issue at hand.
Mr. Kopan went on to explain the results of his research into the issue (the issue in question was whether using certified water meter installers instead of licensed plumbers was in compliance with the building code or not).
I’m sorry to say that at this point Mayor Frank Konrad let down the citizens of Grand Forks. The manner and substance of his questioning of Mr. Kopan played more like a Crown prosecutor questioning a hostile witness than a sitting mayor discussing a matter with a member of his own staff.
Mr Kopan stated that he had spoken with Zachary May, a codes administrator with the BC Building Code Appeal Board. By all accounts, Mr. May should be seen as an excellent source for Mr. Kopan to cite in bringing valuable information to both council and the citizens of Grand Forks.
Mayor Konrad, however, seemed unimpressed with Mr. May’s word and in my opinion proceeded to belittle both Mr. Kopan and then Councillor Thompson when she offered thoughts on the matter. Incredibly, Mayor Konrad also took it upon himself to declare that “the installations are null and void, they’re illegal.”
At one point, Mr. Konrad even appeared to be accepting and receiving text messages rather than paying attention to the discussion at hand. (The meeting in its entirety can be seen at gftv.ca should anyone wish to watch and judge for themselves.)
Needless to say I am disappointed by this performance. In my opinion, a leader is cautious before making pronouncements and treats those he is supposed to be leading with dignity and respect, not ridicule and scorn.
It is my hope that we will look back on this incident as an example of a person making an error in judgment due to inexperience.
I and many like me are prepared to offer this council our support as citizens over the next four years as they learn and grow into their roles.
Regardless, I know that the citizens of Grand Forks will be watching with interest.
Ian Mitchell, Grand Forks, BC