There is “nothing new” in the Lidstone Report, Mayor Rick Green has said.
Township lawyer Don Lidstone ruled that the mayor misled his council and three lawyers.
“I apologized for that in writing and said so publicly in my Sept. 13, 2010 news release and news conference,” Green said in a statement.
“I also explained my reasons and rationale; specifically it was to protect my sources and their reputations.”
He added, “Boiled down to the issue, it was all about information that came into my possession that I thought council should be made aware of. I sought out independent legal advice, I followed that advice, and for that we have gone through two years of wasted time, an estimated $100,000 cost to Township taxpayers, plus $25,000 personally, to defend myself against false accusations. Why? That is a question I still ask myself, only council knows the real reason.”
But had Green followed Township policy governing the receipt of anonymous material, the situation could have been avoided, said Township Councillor Mel Kositsky.
Kositsky and Jack Froese are challenging Green for the mayor’s job in the Nov. 19 election.
At the heart of the controversy is that Green called an emergency meeting in October, 2009, on the grounds that he had just received information he wanted to share with council.
However, the information had already been in his possession for more than two months.
The advent of e-mail led to unsigned messages being sent to council and staff. This prompted the Township to adopt a policy of not entertaining anonymous correspondence.
“We brought that in (policy) years ago when e-mails started,” Kositsky said.
“The mayor chose a course of action, and the rest is in the report.”
Kositsky said that the Lidstone Report contains the words of both lawyer Don Lidstone and Green, “and it’s up to the public to read the information and decide for themselves. People have been asking what is going on and here is the opportunity to get that information.”
The whole situation stemmed from Green raising the issue of an anonymous letter, and “the information that came out showed that any trust that had been built up is gone.”
Green said that he believes the Lidstone Report “finds no guilt of a criminal offence and that I did not breach my oath.” In a statement issued on Tuesday, Green noted that a complaint filed with the RCMP and later referred to a special prosecutor had been dismissed “after a thorough and lengthy review.”
“And now this. This is the act of desperation on the part of a desperate council who has been focused on one thing since the last election: defeat Mayor Green.”
What members of council have been doing, he said, “is redirecting away from the real issues that matter to Township taxpayers. I am going to concentrate on the real issues of concern to the taxpayers of the Township of Langley during this election: taxation, spending, transportation and community planning are the issues we will discuss.”
He accused council of wanting to “take us back to the previous way of doing things, where community input was not welcome nor invited.”
That is not what taxpayers want of council, he said, adding “I have no problem in putting my fate in the hands of the voter.”
The Lidstone Report can be viewed in its entirely at www.langleytimes.com.