I’m sure I’m like the majority of Kamloops/TNRD residents when I say I was blown away by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District spending revelations detailed in the Feb. 17 edition of KTW.
First off, this is one of the best examples of reporting from a smaller newspaper I’ve ever come across. Kudos to Kamloops This Week and its staff on the hard work in bringing these practices to light.
Since former TNRD CAO Sukh Gill’s suspicious departure, the reporters of KTW have kept investigating to find the facts of the story and they’ve done credit to their craft, as well as provided a major service to locals.
Secondly, as a taxpayer, I was extremely disappointed and angry to read of the excessive spending (particularly on high-end restaurants and hotels) by not only Gill, but the entire TNRD during his tenure.
I refuse to believe the board either did not know of the spending or thought it was acceptable to spend taxpayers’ money so frivolously.
The multi-year nature of the spending indicates a distressing systemic problem within the TNRD, one that needs to be investigated and corrected.
The very statements from interim CAO Randy Diehl that “spending on restaurants and coffee shops at the TNRD pre-dated Gill’s tenure” and that there was an “absence of policy,” as well as board chair Ken Gillis’ incredulous claim that there was nothing that would “constitute impropriety” supports this need.
The fact that expenses were spread out between TNRD departments indicates these individuals knew they were morally in the wrong.
The shady payout/departure of Gill, as well as his $117,000 in overtime pay for two months in 2017, also demand continued investigation and serious policy review.
I hope voters of the TNRD are taking notes for the next election, which will be held in October 2022.
I also hope the RCMP and the provincial government are also investigating to determine whether there is any basis for criminal charges.