Toni Boot has lost her seat on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
Members of Summerland council voted unanimously Monday to appoint Couns. Erin Trainer and Doug Holmes to fill the community’s two seats on the 19-member RDOS board.
Boot, who is on leave from her job as mayor to run as a New Democrat in the provincial election, held her RDOS position since 2019 and before that while serving as a district councillor. Holmes has also been on the RDOS board since 2019 and is the current vice-chair.
Coun. Marty Van Alphen noted Holmes’ vice-chair duties when he put forward the motion to appoint Trainer and Holmes, but didn’t offer an explanation for replacing Boot.
Trainer, who served previously as an alternate RDOS director, said she thinks all councillors should get a shot at the gig because it offers important insight into other communities in the region.
Trainer already has a connection to the RDOS: Her husband, Erick Thompson, is local government’s communications co-ordinator.
RDOS chief administrative officer Bill Newell said Tuesday he had already discussed the matter with the District of Summerland, and believes conflict-of-interest rules set out in the Local Government Act are sufficient to deal with any situations facing the couple.
“As long as there is no personal pecuniary benefit or no benefit to direct family there is no conflict,” Newell said in an email.
“It’s up to each (board) member to determine if they have a conflict and, if so, they must declare the specific conflict and withdraw from the discussion about the issue and the vote. In this case, Director Trainer should declare on any matter that would directly benefit her husband.”
Newell also noted the communications co-ordinator positon is unionized, so “it’s unlikely that the board would be faced with any decision that would benefit (Thompson) more than any other employee…. I don’t see much chance for a conflict in this case.”
As of Jan. 1, RDOS municipal directors are paid $7,148 per year, but receive top-ups for meeting attendance and holding board positions such as chair and vice-chair.