A Cariboo Regional District director said her decision to stop attending joint committee meetings is not a sudden one.
“It’s been coming on for many months,” said CRD Area D Director Deb Bischoff Wednesday. “If people actually came to the meetings and saw what was going on they would have a clearer understanding. People don’t attend the meetings, and I understand why. Half the time they don’t know they are going on and people have busy lives.”
At its Sept. 25 meeting the Central Cariboo Joint Committee discussed a letter that Bischoff sent to two board members alerting them she intends to withdraw herself and Area D from the committee and all its functions.
Bischoff said she doesn’t make decisions lightly.
“If Area D people want to talk to me I do make myself available. If they had concerns and were at the town hall meeting in Wildwood on Saturday they didn’t say anything.”
Williams Lake city Coun. Ivan Bonnell said Bischoff’s decision creates a situation where city council will be “hog-tied.”
As a member of the joint committee Bonnell raised concerns about Bischoff’s decision at the regular council meeting Tuesday.
“It speaks to how joint committee functions and our memorandum of understanding in terms of reference for the structure,” Bonnell said.
“If one of those two directors don’t show up or don’t agree it stops the whole process,” Bonnell said.
Bonnell made a motion that council discuss joint committee terms of reference and memorandum of understanding at a future committee of the whole meeting.
Council endorsed the motion unanimously.
“The joint committees are established to deal with items the city and CRD fund jointly,” CRD Chair Al Richmond explained.
“The process will continue, but I think it’s unfortunate if someone isn’t there from Area D.”
Recommendations coming out of the committee go forward to the CRD board and city council for ratification, however, Richmond said while Bischoff would have agendas and minutes, she would not have the benefit of the discussions if she chooses not to attend.
“The joint committee provides an opportunity to discuss things in detail and come forward with strong rationale,” he added.
“I think it’s regrettable if director Bischoff chooses to withdraw, but certainly that would be at her discretion.”
In September Bischoff also announced she does not intend to run in the 2014 local government elections, noting she feels after six years it will be time for some new blood.