The March 7 North Cowichan council meeting was similar to other meetings, in that the video of the meeting could serve very adequately as “course material” for a college psychology lecture.
Namely, in the pas‐de‐deux between the Mayor and Councillor Behnsen (pas‐de‐trois if you add Councillor Marsh). The pattern is predictable: Councillor Behnsen delivers a lengthy statement, combined with a request for action by the District of North Cowichan.
The Mayor launches into what appears to be a kneejerk reaction of rebuttals and criticisms. It is quite possible that he is justified in doing so, but it would be helpful to those present if he would outline in detail the reasons he finds some of Councillor Behnsen’s remarks accusatory, or incorrect.
The same might apply to Councillor Marsh: at repeated council meetings she appears to have only negative responses to Councillor Behnsen’s comments, or requests. The concept of ‘bullying’ is a hot topic – worldwide, and at North Cowichan as well.
Councillor Behnsen has been taken to task and punished for the supposed bullying of administration personnel. Because of the lack of detail provided by council to the residents of Chemainus, they are left to speculate as to the circumstances of the Behnsen issue.
From my point of view, the behaviour of two council members should not be condoned and perhaps they should be sanctioned for their unprofessional behaviour to Councillor Behnsen – how ironic that their behaviour is what she herself was accused of doing. Councillor Behnsen was demoted from committee attendance, but I will be surprised if anything punitive happens to the Mayor or Councillor Marsh.
Adding to the rumour mill is the firing, this past week, of a senior administration staffer.
A suggestion to council is to appoint a committee of Chemainus citizens (perhaps five) who could act to review all issues, such as the Behnsen one. They would need to be sworn to secrecy to the extent required by freedom‐of‐information legislation. This practice would be no different from that which is used by numerous provincial professional organizations.
I can assure you that viewing this video opened my eyes to the behaviour of people who have been elected to public office, and will affect my opinion when the next election occurs.