Ray Tomlin: My public statement after being fired from the Vancouver board of variance
STATEMENT September 26, 2009
FROM: Ray Tomlin
(Former) Member, Board of Variance
1. Recission, Appointment of Ray Tomlin, Vancouver Board of Variance
2. Decision. Opening of Investigation into Allegations of Board impropriety
At 9 a.m. today I received a communication, delivered to me by courier, from the Office of the City Manager, and the Acting City Clerk (see attached), advising me that my recent appointment to the Vancouver Board of Variance had been rescinded, effective September 24, 2009.
At the same in-camera meeting of Vancouver City Council, I was informed that Council also directed the City Manager to conduct an investigation into concerns raised by this writer in a September 11, 2009 memorandum delivered to the City Manager, the Deputy Gen. Mgr. of Community Services, members of Council, and members of the Board (see attached).
The September 11th memorandum detailed procedural improprieties that "demean the Board's performance and imperil its work, which in turn reflects upon the integrity of Council, all of which deprives the public of the expected service from one of the City's valued institutions." The memorandum also details suspected non-compliance of some of the Board's statutory duties, e.g. conducting in-camera discussions of Board business.
In receiving my letter of dismissal, wherein "City Council concluded that your activities as a Board of Variance member have resulted in a complete breakdown of the ability of the Board to carry out its statutory duties," it is ironic that Council concluded that my activities as a Board member contributed to the above-mentioned breakdown, when in fact the focus of my activities and memorandum were to compel the Board to adhere to its statutory duties, and "proven, longstanding Board custom and practice."
I am particularly upset that I was not provided with the opportunity to address Council prior to the taking of their decision, which I unfortunately suspect was based on false information given to Council by Dr. Ballem.
Previously, Dr. Ballem had convened a one-hour meeting with me, on Tuesday, Sept. 15th wherein she alleged "obstructive" behaviour on the part of this writer, as a member of the Board, such information based on hearsay, all of which I denied categorically, without reservation, at the meeting. At that meeting, Dr. Ballem demanded my resignation. I did not do so as her information did not warrant my resignation. It is the hope of this writer that Dr. Ballem did not repeat these false, injurious allegations to Council.
While I am dismayed to have been summarily dismissed from my position as a member of the Board, I have faith in Council that after a fair and impartial investigation into the claims made in the September 11, 2009 memorandum that I will be fully exonerated and reinstated to the Board.
My commitment to public service, and the integrity and duties of the Board of Variance, one of our cities' most cherished institutions, remains unfazed despite the events of recent days.
I am confident going forward that Council will come to adhere to the principle of evidence, trial and then verdict, and reverse themselves on the hasty and (suspected) ill-informed decision to rescind my appointment.
I look forward to serving, soon again, with distinction on this honourable Board.
(Former) Member, City of Vancouver Board of Variance