Aya Higashi

Fixing the medal debacle

We’re pleased to report the Regional District of Central Kootenay board is making the best of a bad situation

We’re pleased to report the Regional District of Central Kootenay board is making the best of a bad situation.

After the embarrassing debacle over the Queen’s Jubilee medals that saw directors fall over each other to nominate current and former politicos, they’ve endorsed three civilians and a former school trustee as their remaining nominees.

A few months ago, MP Alex Atamanenko asked the three regional districts in his riding to each suggest 10 worthy recipients.

The medals are to recognize people who have made “significant contributions” to their communities, but our regional district representatives appeared to be under the mistaken impression they were to reward local government service.

They were either oblivious to, or blithely unconcerned about, the optics of nominating six of their own, past and present.

In light of how overrepresented politicians were, as well as the fact six out of seven nominees were men, the Star called for the public’s nominees, preferably non-politicians and at least a few more women. The regional district received four suggestions, and to the board’s credit, these were accepted and endorsed.

(One additional complication: there are now 11 nominees instead of 10. Hopefully an extra medal can be procured so someone isn’t left out.)

None of this should have been controversial — these are service awards, after all — and none of it would have happened had the board used an open process.

For a lesson in how it ought to be done, look no further than the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, which on July 19 passed a resolution to let the public submit nominees.

According to the Keremeos Review, ads will be placed in community newspapers, and a committee of three regional directors will review the names and recommend 10 finalists.

While it’s too late to do the same here, our board should at least be commended for not compounding its mistake.

 

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