Friday, September 12, 2008

Rachel Davis Boycotts her Long Term Volunteer Position at Carnegie to Protest Ongoing "abuse of power" by City Management and Carnegie Board

Rachel Davis, a former Carnegie Board member and long time volunteer in the Carnegie Music Program, has tried everything from hiring a lawyer to giving radio interviews to get "abuse of power" by City management and the Board of Directors at Carnegie Centre to stop. It hasn't stopped. So she announced yesterday that she is boycotting her volunteer position until changes are made.

Davis outlined her reasons for boycotting her volunteer position in the following email sent to Carnegie management including Executive Director Ethel Whitty and Vancouver City Manager Judy Rogers; City Council including Mayor Sam Sullivan and Councillor Peter Ladner; Carnegie supervisory staff; Carnegie Board members including Secretary Rolph Auer, and media:

This is to inform you that I am boycotting my long-held position as a Volunteer Music Leader for the Carnegie Community Centre due to the following reasons:

1) Carnegie's City Staff employees failure to follow proper procedure in matters of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy requests by Carnegie members. The Carnegie has been investigated for this before, and found wanting, but still the rules of FIPPA are not being complied with.

2) Carnegie's City Staff employees, namely the Executive Director, acting as tellers in the election of Carnegie board members, in contravention of the Carnegie constitution, and in obvious conflict of interest.

3) The failure of the Carnegie Community Centre Association Board of Directors to comply with the Carnegie constitution, and produce a teller's report at CCCA Board elections.

These last two failures in procedure have resulted in a call for a recount of Board of Director Election results due to the CCCA membership's mistrust of the proceedings. The recount was done in exactly the same manner as the first time, unfortunately, only further disregarding the membership's obvious desire for accountability, and thereby deepening the mistrust.

It is extremely distressing to me to feel I have to take this measure. I am a community volunteer, I have contributed to Carnegie since it's opening, and have always considered it a beacon of light in a dark place; but I having tried to remedy these problems with due process at Carnegie through many other means, and I find myself unable to continue to be officially involved in a volunteer program that contributes to a City-run establishment that systematically breaks the rule of law, land, and it's own constitution.

I have written emails, talked to the President of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director, held meetings, called the City, hired lawyers, filed FIPPA complaints, given radio interviews to CBC Radio One, and Co-op Radio, written articles, had articles written in the Sun and other publications, and many other members have also done many of these things as well, in an effort to resolve the situation of rampant disregard for the law of the CCCA Constitution and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Our earnest attempts at communicating our need for basic human rights are met with platitudes such as "We've always done it this way", and the abuse of power goes on. These abuses are many and varied, and well documented at Downtown Eastside Enquirer ,but I bring forward these three specific examples because they are so egregious, and so directly connected with the City of Vancouver, therefore, I am hoping, they are easily resolved.

If City employees begin complying with the rules of FIPPA, and stop putting themselves in conflict of interest by being tellers in Board elections, and if the elections tellers report is made a part of the proceedings at Board elections as it should be, I would be overjoyed to take up my volunteer position again. I have always have taken pride and enjoyed making a contribution to the lives of the CCCA membership, but I sadly must boycott my volunteer services in an yet another, but not final, effort to end the abuses the CCCA membership and I have tried so hard to resolve in a myriad of other ways.


Rachel Davis
Senior Member of the CCCA


truepeers said...

What a pity Rachel had to take this route. A volunteer must take a leave from what she loves in order that highly paid bureaucraps might eventually be shamed into recognizing the humanity they share with those whom they take to be children to control. I fear they will only take this as a victory, unless and until the kind of people who received Rachel's letter, and others, stand up against the human rights abuses in this city. Vancouver should be ashamed.

Audrey Laferriere said...

Unfortunately Rachel did not mention the barring William Simpson while he was a duly elected director of Carnegie. Ethel could have made an exception to his barring to attend executive meetings. The board as well as Ethel have no respect for parlimentary process.

Audrey Laferriere said...

Would you do a post that there has been no creation of shelter beds to accommodate the street homeless in the last decade. This is because the shelter providers along with everybody else except the street homeless decided that no more shelters were necessary. They were sold a bill of goods under the model "housing first" which no one bothered to research.

Dag said...

Audrey, you do a fine job, as I understand it, of championing on behalf of the city's homeless. No doubt the homeless in the city require an advocate, and you do what must be done, leaving others to perform other tasks, related if different.

Bill Simpson, and Rachel Davis specifically and exactly, stand for the right of citizens against the Goliath of the Corporation of the City of Vancouver bureaucracy. Because of Rachel's abilities in this regard she has my full support in her efforts. No doubt those efforts will directly benefit all citizens in the city at some point, though the enactments might be less than clear. Who can touch democracy? Who can know where it is and what we don't have day-by-day?

Housing is visible, but democracy is not. Still, they likely go hand in hand, and one benefits the other.