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Absent Councillor Still On Payroll

Author: Ryan Windsor,
Citizen Journalist

Image source: http://www.polarbear-ac.com/about/office-staff/

Minutes of the Council meeting November 5th. 2012

Council’s Letter Regarding Terry Siklenka

Video InterviewCayman Island News – Video Interview

Central Saanich council has granted a leave of absence with pay to a councillor who appears to have left for work in the Cayman Islands.

Last month, Saanich Voice Online reported that Councillor Terry Siklenka might be removed from council for missing four regularly scheduled council meetings. He had already missed three meetings and the fourth meeting was scheduled for November 5th.

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Shortly before the start of the fourth meeting, council held an in-camera meeting where it appears council granted Cllr. Siklenka a six month leave of absence with pay, instead of choosing disqualification and possibly holding a by-election. Mayor Alastair Bryson stated, “Council granted a request for leave of absence for Cllr. Siklenka for personal reasons.”

Saanich Voice Online located the absent councillor through a company website and learned that Cllr. Siklenka is working for Polar Bear Air Conditioning in the Cayman Islands.

According to the company’s website, “Terry is our Service Coordinator and has a wealth of experience, over 35 years! Terry has work (sic) as a technician, right up to being GM of a multi million dollar operation.

Saanich Voice Online contacted Polar Bear, who confirmed that Siklenka works for them, but repeated attempts to speak to Siklenka himself were not successful.

Although the details surrounding council’s decision are not being shared with the public, it is not out of place for a council to grant leave on occasion.

Former councillor Chris Graham recalls his experience. “During my twelve years on council there had only been a few leave of absence requests and they were all dealt with in an open council. This is the first account where I have heard of a leave of absence request being handled in-camera. In addition, when I took a leave of absence in 2001 for Summer holidays, I was not compensated.”

According to the Peninsula News Review (Nov 9), Chief Administrative Officer Patrick Robbins reportedly said that Cllr. Siklenka will continue to receive his pay during his leave. He explains, since the Community Charter does not outline rules for remuneration should a councillor take leave, the decision of pay is left up to council.

Sidney Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble and Victoria Chief Administrative Officer Rob Woodland were both asked if their respective councils have policies relating to pay during leaves of absence. Both confirmed that no such policies existed and that direction on that matter would normally come from council.

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Presently Cllr. Siklenka’s commitments include Chair of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, Committee Member for the CRD Solid Waste Advisory Committee and council liaison for the First Nations Community to Community Forum, the Healthy Watershed Committee and the Chamber of Commerce.

At the Nov. 5th meeting, Mayor Alastair Bryson stated that council has been managing to fill Cllr. Siklenka’s role, but said he “would like to bring back a recommendation to council on how we can more accurately cover his role for up to six months.”

Cllr. Siklenka’s wife, Maxine Siklenka, was asked by phone if her husband would be returning to council. She replied, “Yes, he is recovering and will be back in town shortly.”

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49 Responses to “Absent Councillor Still On Payroll”

  • Sue Stroud:

    I want to know exactly how every Councillor voted on this and which of his council buddies knew he was going to the Caymans. We need to know if Siklenka has mislead the council and if he has he must be disqualified from sitting and a bye-election must be called.

    • Concered Citizen:

      Hello Sue

      Keep up the excellent work that you are doing in getting to the truth about Clr Siklenka. Today, what I find is why all of a sudden when the story broke within a couple of days the saanichvoiceonline site was comprised and down for a number of hours COINCIDENCE OR NOT

      Was Terry actually at the Closed In Camera meeting that granted him the leave of absence or was it done by Skype or some other method? We heard that he was in Mexico California or the Caymans. Love Maxine`s response when asked about his Yes, he is recovering and will be back in town shortly.”

      • admin:

        Yes, the Sannich Voice Online website was compromised. Coincidence. I have identified the problem and have taken the steps to rectify the situation. Hopefully the message in google will be removed soon. Thank you for your comments and continued participation.

    • Globex Corporation:

      Hi Sue,

      I haven’t seen anybody bring this up yet, so I will. Please have a good look at s. 110 of the Community Charter: http://tinyurl.com/bo23th7

      Seems to me that the solution is to simply boot the guy out.

      • Sue Stroud:

        We’ll see how Council handles it, they do know this is an option.

        • Globex Corporation:

          Just be aware of the limitation period. You have a small window during which you can petition the courts; if you miss it, you will be out of luck.

          I’d deal with it myself if I was a resident of the area. Unfortunately, I live elsewhere in the greater Victoria area.

  • Lee hardy:

    Are you kidding me!!??!! I was giving him the benifit of the doubt … thought he might be in some sort of re-hab or some sort of 90 day programe?? Come on I’m paying his wages , me and over 17,000 other tax payers. What a screw up an even number of council members then someone has to leave because of a conflict of interest. Holy crap where is Donald Trump ?? He would NOT put up with this. I demand a answer!!

  • Sue Stroud:

    The Councillor is now suggesting he went to the Caymans to help with earthquake relief. If so why was the leave request done in camera when that is not the ordinary procedure? It is also out of character for this councillor who is not shy about letting his good deeds be known. Also most people might get paid leave from their actual jobs to do this work, but being a Councillor is not one’s job and the stipend is not intended for this purpose. The councillor was away several weeks before he requested leave (also paid weeks). There is much here that doesn’t appear to add up.

  • Sue Stroud:

    In addition the job description from the worksite above mentions nothing about the earthquake and clearly defines Cllr Siklenka as an employee. If he was there to help them with earthquake relief surely the site would be proud to point that out.

  • Joe Scalzo:

    And you wonder why the average citizen does not participate in the election process. The elected officials don’t back the community who they say they represent but they back each other. More people would take an active roll in politics if they knew their respected and represented.

  • Joe Scalzo:

    the Vancouver Sun has pickup up on this story and added more information… every Central Saanich resident should be writing the mayor and demanding answers!

    http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/Daphne+Bramham+councillor+collects+salary+while/7597036/story.html

  • Conflict of Interest:

    Anyone thought that maybe some of these council members want Terry’s “pro-development” and close ties with the Vantrights to stick around and have a voting seat? Best for them to have tax-payers pay his leave, rather than holdign a by-election, so they can get an extra vote, and a nice personal cheque through side-deals and payoffs

  • Fred Peet:

    I compliment Ryan Windsor for pulling the curtains of secrecy apart and shining light into the darkness of this matter for the benefit of taxpayers like myself who want to know what is going on.

  • Karla Sofen:

    You all should be ashamed of yourselves for passing judgment without knowing the facts. Saanich Voice and all the commenters left out an important detail. He’s in the Cayman Islands installing air conditioners – IN ORPHANAGES for children with no parents being constructed using donated money and labour. It’s volunteer charity work and he has permission of the elected council to be there. If you are upset he still gets his token paycheck, then get mad at the council, not the guy devoting his time, money, and expertise to help those in need of the help. The effort is costing him far more than whatever tiny check Central Saanich might be still paying him. In your zeal to spin this against someone you disagree with politically, this newspaper and all the hateful comments show only YOUR true face and it’s ugly. Print the facts Saanich Voice. You’ve let this go on long enough. Don’t be coy. Vote in who you wish at election time people. That’s what happened last time and you have to live with it. This kind of journalism and fake outrage and character assassination isn’t going to change a single vote. Next time, even more conservatives will be elected and maybe Central Saanich can be saved by some good old fiscal responsibility and business sense.

    • Agnes McDonald:

      Very good point Karla. It is now necessary to examine why all but one of the councillors voted in favour of paid leave. Were they misled? Why would they think it was okay for a councillor to be away and paid on our dime while being the service coordinator for Polar Bear in the Caymans?

      Nothing on Polar’s website indicates he is anything other than a fulltime paid employee, not one word about charitable works where you would most expect it to be.

      Our councillors need to tell us exactly what they were told and when. They can’t hide behind FOI rules.

    • Donald Bottrell:

      Well now Karla…..what say you now! Every time I see a post from you it seems that you always defend the “SCANDOLOUS ACTS OF DUBIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS”. Should the media actually do their homework and present the facts’ citizen and citizen groups would not have to be so vigilant in their questioning of our elected officials. This SIKLENKA thing rings of politicians thinking they are above it all.

      “WHEN FIRST THEY PRACTICE TO DECEIVE…..! HUSHA HUSHA, THEY ALL FALL DOWN.”

      WELL DONE RYAN WINDSOR! You have forced a bi-election and hopefully bring the Municipal council of CS one step closer to open governance!

      • Karla Sofen:

        The point is, the newspaper and the commentators made assertions of facts that were false. I’m having a hard time believing it was just an honest mistake. It’s malicious and deliberate. All the same people criticized me before said I was wrong about every issue I opined about. But as it turns out, I’ve been right again and again. But, no matter… THIS TIME I must be wrong eh?

        Charity isn’t done for the reward or for acknowledgement or for the appreciation of others. Charity rewards the giver. The villagers with their pitchforks and torches of false accusations have killed their monster. You have your reward. Hate destroys the hater. All of you hateful partisans willing to say whatever it takes to bring down people with different political ideas… you will destroy yourselves. I need say and do nothing more.

        Siklenka was working for the benefit of orphans. He didn’t want to take any credit for and he probably intended to go back to serving Central Saanich with the same spirit of selfless sacrifice. How many wolfs are the citizens of Central Saanich going to give Ryan Windsor anyway?

  • biodiversity:

    Welcome back Karla

  • D. Leonsaari:

    It appears the Councillor has resigned as of November 6th. The TC notes that the councillor was supposed to be on sick leave. CS Council should never have approved the request for a leave of absence. In my opinion, the request for a leave of absence should never have been submittted.

  • Free enterprise:

    Karla Sofen is right. This paper and all you people have hounded a good man from office. So what if he didn’t live in Central Saanich? So what if he didn’t live in Canada? So what if he was getting paid for nothing? He was only doing what lot’s of others do. Hes a good man and you should all be ashamed of yourselfs. I hope we elect someone else just like him to take his place.

  • donald bottrell:

    Since when did the defnition of a good man include: LIYING AND DECEIT? Oh, yes here it is in the politicians handybook. Used most recently by several Quebec City Mayors and Toronto’s Mayor Ford. If these are the values of Mr. or Mrs. Private Enterprise, remind me not to do business with them!

  • Central Saanich Resident:

    Today Siklenka appeared again on a Brentwood Bay Facebook site that supposedly belongs to a fellow councillor.

    The Siklenka post reads:

    ” I offered to resign and Council asked me not to resign due to the fact it would trigger a by-election (cost in excess of $30,000) and they were in the middle of human resource issues etc a lot of in camera type stuff and didn’t want to upset the balance of council at that time…”

    So if his words are true, then which member of council was coaching Siklenka, so there would not be a by-election and upset the “balance of council”?

    And why was Zeb King was the ONLY council member that voted against giving Sikllenka a leave of absence with full salary and benefits?

  • Concerned C.S. resident:

    Hi Sue – So are you going to run in the byelection?

    • Sue Stroud:

      No I won’t be running, I was unable to get my paperwork in by the deadline so I can’t run until the election after next, but I’ll happily support a person who is willing to respect and protect our OCP.

  • donald bottrell:

    In todays TC Mayor Bryson and C. Ounstead both stated that at no time did any member of council or staff advise Siklenka not to resign. Yet another lie by Mr. Siklenka? He would be best to slip away into the cover of the Caymans and live out his life without this fiasco haunting his happiness. I wish him good luck in all that he chooses to undertake in his future.

    • Central Saanich Resident:

      I hate to disagree with you Don, but I actually believe that Siklenka was telling the truth this time. Think about it – he has nothing to lose at this point. He has resigned and likely won’t be coming back.

      So why not tell the truth and set the record straight, while his council pals throw him under the bus to save their own political skins? It is the people who want to be re-lelected that have the most to lose right now. I believe him when he says they did not want to “disturb the balance of council”, especially when they looking to borrow another 16 Million for the town hall.

      Link to the story:

      http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Central+Saanich+councillor+paid+leave+questioned/7620411/story.html

      • D. Leonsaari:

        Good analysis. Perhaps Siklenka was telling the truth regarding the by-election. I wonder if the same council member(s) knew that he was in the Caymams?

  • donald bottrell:

    Thankyou CRS for your comment.. Unfortunately, as with most decisions made by this bunch, we are likely to never know. However, I hope that either way they all have learned a lesson from this situation and take it with them from here on.

  • Concerned Citizen:

    We read all the comments from all of the news pertaining to this one Councillor and are very concerned from listenening to his interview with the Cayman News that his remarks stated that he feels that he has done nothing wrong. If he lied about what Council told him originally when he asked for the one year paid leave of absence Then the questions to be asked are what else has he lied about? I sincerley hope that Council has not paid this guy the $6,000.00 and if they did so then that monies should be paid back. These monies are be put to good use elsewhere such as paying for the By-Election if that is what the Council decides to do on December 3, 2012.

  • Karla Sofen:

    Sue and Ryan have been hoisted on their own petard. Central Saanich isn’t composed of mean-spirited hateful people who vote for mean spirited hateful people. There will be some solid businessperson running in the by-election who will make a difference, not some negative, whining, complaining conspiracy theorist. You’ve cried wolf so many times, no one is going to listen. All you busybodies need to go back to your drugs, alcohol and porn and waste your life while the good people of Central Saanich get about the business of properly running a city. Your manufactured fake scandals and phony outrage and indignation isn’t going to work and never has. The people reading this who never comment are well aware now of the reality and they’ve seen how far the zealots will go. They won’t vote for you this time just like they didn’t last time. This kind of BS is the reason. You just are not credible. Complaining is not an accomplishment.

    • CS Resident:

      Karla
      Some of the Council did not do their due diligence and have been put into a very awkward position once again. The Councillor who voted against the motion to grant the leave with pay, said he didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision. I know that because I contacted him and asked him why he voted against it. I don’t think any of these comments are mean spirited, just frustrated with the lack of honesty that the some of the last council and the some of the new council seem to be portraying. The residents of CS deserve better and making uninformed decisions is a very dangerous political route to take. The residents will hold the Council accountable and I don’t see this going away in the near future.

      I find your emails more mean spirited than any of the other emails in this stream.

  • biodiversity:

    Karla
    It is unbelievable how much damage this councilor has done to the integrity of the democratic process. How can you defend deceit and self-interest? I am a Central Saanich resident. I am proud that Mr. Ryan Windsor had the courage to have drawn the community’s attention to the fact that CS taxpayers are paying someone who is working in the tax-sheltered Cayman Islands and still drawing pay from Central Saanich taxpayers. CS council supported this with a paid leave of absence. ‘Scuse me?.
    How Dare YOU: Your quote “All you busybodies need to go back to your drugs, alcohol and porn and waste your life while the good people of Central Saanich get about the business of properly running a city. Your manufactured fake scandals and phony outrage and indignation isn’t going to work and never will”.
    We don’t support your view, nor are we “busybodies”

    • Karla Sofen:

      People with no charity in their hearts can’t imagine that good people exist that want to do good deeds for the sake of others and receive no recognition for the effort. You’re telling me that Ryan just didn’t know the councilor when to the Cayman Islands for charitable relief? And that key detail was left out by accident? Ryan simply could not comprehend that such selfless charity exists in this world. The concept is too alien to his comprehension, so of course it could not be true according to his ability to perceive the world around him. What has occurred is something called projection. Ryan projected his own character upon Siklenka. Mr. Siklenka sought no recognition, did not help build an orphanage for children after a disaster so that he could brag about what a great guy he is. He didn’t want anyone to know. That’s the point. It’s not charity if you have selfish motives.

      I seriously doubt Ryan was courageous. He saw a political opportunity and spun a conspiracy theory. But, as it turns out, he’s cried wolf again. I’ve lost count of the times he’s done this. He cannot be considered a credible source on any subject. The people reading these comments who never write anything, yet still read everything know what I’m talking about. Expect the best out of everyone and you’ll seldom be disappointed.

      When the conspiracy nuts lose the next election too, Ryan will have a conspiracy to explain it away. The voters just are not that in to you Ryan. It’s that simple. We see who you really are.

      • biodiversity:

        Siklenka still ripped off Central Saanich taxpayers while doing his “good works”.

        • Karla Sofen:

          The orphans in the Cayman Islands will gladly pay back Central Saanich if they wish to withdraw their generous contribution, indirect as it may be. What is the figure to be reimbursed? How much is the special election going to cost? Yes, all you crusaders are fighting the good fight. You’ll get everything you deserve. Karma baby. Ha! Ha! Ha! You screwed the pooch again. I’m sure the residents of Central Saanich appreciate all the help.

      • D. Leonsaari:

        Karla, do you live in CS?

  • Karla

    We are in agreement with what Biodiversity has to say about this particular Councillor. You have been fooled and played by the Biggest Wolfe there is.

  • Karla Sofen:

    Ryan presented the issue in a false light. Those who defend this practice lack credibility by such defence. One can’t be passive defending the innocent and falsely accused. I’m hostile to anyone who practices such deceit. Nothing I have said is false. Mr. Windsor shed light only on his own character. Defending this tactic sheds light only on yours.

  • CS Resident:

    So much hatred! I am shocked by all this stream – what are all of you thinking! The bottom line is holding our politicians accountable. Doing what is right!

  • Concerned Citizen:

    Karla

    Ryan did an excellent job in CLEARLY stating the facts pertaining to this particular Councillor Terry Siklenka. Have you even listened to the two interviews from the Cayman Islands? IT IS YOURSELF that has the facts misconstrued. In all of your replies you have not ONCE mentioned the TImes Colonist-Province-The Vancouver Sun plus all of the TV stations that erred the article. It seems to us who respond that you have a personal vendetta against Ryan Windsor and this makes us howl with laughter each time you post a reply and just goes to show How childish you are

    • Editor:

      Our policy is to allow as much discussion as possible, and to let everyone have a say. This thread is turning into an argumentum ad hominum. If you’d like to comment on the FACTS, by all means write a comment. If you want to attack someone, please use another medium. I will not approve any further attacks on individuals.
      Editor

    • Karla Sofen:

      The Times-Colonist re-reported Ryan’s information uncritically and did no investigation of their own. It’s a lot like the Times-Colonist when they write stories about UFOs or Big Foot and they say, “The National Enquirer reported yesterday that…” They likewise did not allow any public comments on the issue. So Ryan can’t get credibility because his information was re-distributed. It’s pretty much identical to what we have here. Nothing added, nothing taken away. Basically the city council knew what was going on and Ryan and the public didn’t and dark motivations and evil conspiracies and misuse of public funds were inferred by people who really didn’t know the facts. Now that you do know the facts, you don’t believe it and persist in believing a conspiracy theory. Fine. No amount of belief establishes any fact. If a million people believe something that’s incorrect, it’s still incorrect.

      I’m just glad the story has a happy ending for Mr. Siklenka. He won’t worry a bit about Central Saanich anymore and has no more concern for the criticism from political opponents. He’s got an umbrella cocktail and a nice day at the beach every day of the year and can keep cool with a nice air-conditioner when he wants to. I hope Cayman Islands is Siklenka’s “Galt’s Gulch” and the he and his family are happy and prosperous.

  • PhantomKanuck:

    Hard not to loose sight of the big prize—democracy and the right to govern ourselves. Maybe the misinformation and outcome of the unfortunate Siklenka story could have been avoided if the Central Saanich council had not gone in camera. Keep our government open to the people. Terry touted transparency but has been found incognito! This causes massive fits of confusion to citizens like Karla and myself. We are not hiding anything. We are open, honest, and speaking up for transparency in an open and honest government system. Unlike the council in camera the Sun and Times Colonist must not have done their own research. Karla and I need true lights not false light to shed upon us. By the way, I like Slegg’s moving to the Keating area. Hope that’s true KS.

  • Ryan Windsor should have done some investigate before he brought this to light. All this does now is hurt his election chance not only in 2014 but also well into the future.

    This is one voter who will not forget this.

    • Karla Sofen:

      What’s telling here is what was left out and why it was left out. So, he has some inside source of information – but the source leaves out the key details? Who did the “editing” and why was the critical point completely deleted? And all the media who “advanced” the story – for some reason critical information “wasn’t discovered”? This is just another example of media bias. It’s a good reason for the CRD to stop automatically voting for liberal candidates and vote in some conservatives. In my home province of Saskatchewan, they had 75 years of NDP type government – and they were a have-not province. Now, Saskatchewan is rich and prosperous. I recently read they had surpassed Alaska in proven conventional oil reserves. The difference? They elected conservatives and got rid of the wheat board. The CRD likewise could become prosperous instead of nearly bankrupt by electing Conservatives. I suppose we have to really hit bottom before we do anything. Not looking forward to the thud.

      • Central Saanich Resident:

        It is an obvious ‘red herring’ when commentators like Karla try to twist the issue around and make the matter about the writer and deflect attention away from the real issue-Siklenka’s actions and the majority of council’s poor judgement. Does Karla and other like minded individuals, really believe that the people of Central Saanich are so ignorant that they do not see through this ruse?

        And by the way, thank you Ryan for having the courage to present the facts in an unbiased manner. If anyone is going to hold this story against Ryan, then I encourage them to write a better story-instead of criticizing someone who is actually doing something for the community. He broke this story and without him, Siklenka would probably be getting full pay and benefits right now. And somehow Karla thinks this is actually in the best interests of Central Saanich?

        Being an armchair critic is easy, but why not try to actually do something for a change (Karla et al.)?

        • Karla Sofen:

          No amount of belief establishes any fact. If a million people believe something that is untrue, it still is untrue. The story left out the key facts the reader needed to decide the issue. Believe what you want as much as you want. It does not change reality.

          • Philosophorum:

            If 30 people say a color is white, and one person says it is black, that one person might be right, and the 30 wrong. But I wouldn’t bet much on it.

  • I leave a response whenever I like a article on a site or I have
    something to valuable to contribute to the conversation.
    It’s triggered by the sincerness displayed in the article I browsed.
    And after this article Absent Councillor Still On Payroll | Saanich Voice Online.
    I was excited enough to drop a commenta response ;-) I do have a few questions for you if it’s okay.

    Is it simply me or does it look like like some of these remarks come
    across like written by brain dead folks? :-P And,
    if you are posting at other places, I would like to follow you.
    Would you list the complete urls of your social pages like your linkedin profile,
    Facebook page or twitter feed?

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