Open letter to Martin Johansen

Martin Johansen – Mayor-Elect – Town of Oliver

You have been elected. I have not. But I do bring to the conversation a certain amount of experience and a touch of wisdom on governance, serving the electorate and getting to the true agenda.

Martin, to my knowledge you have a vast knowledge of team building and leadership within a confined space – civil servants versus – those from the street elected by the community to help set budgets and policies.

The role of a municipal government is vast – whether Oliver, Keremeos or even Kelowna.

A couple of suggestions might help:

  1. Agree to appoint a member of the present council as the Municipal Director at the RDOS table and you serve as alternate. You can do that for you entire term of four years or one year. But you need time to get your feet firmly on the ground in Oliver with the Town Management staff before venturing far afield to represent us all, say at the ORL in Kelowna or the RDOS in Penticton.
  2. Form a special committee – let us call it “the Joint Services Budget Review Committee” and don’t take any guff from staff that this is not possible.


Let me expand on those two suggestions.

It has been a tradition, not a law, that a Mayor of a village, town or a city attend Regional District meetings so they can commune with their compatriots in similar offices in the region. Bolderdash.

I, Jack Bennest,  was the Municipal Director at the RDOS, many years ago,  because Mayor Hart Buckendahl said why not. Summerland had two councillors sit at the RD because then Mayor Janice Perrino perceived herself to be in a conflict with her job as chief fundraiser for the Regional Hospital Project. Penticton council appoints three councillors to the Regional Board. So let us be honest – it is not necessary for a Mayor to attend.

It is not the law and one of your first decisions should be one that shows confidence in your team while you take on the deep learning curve of a first time street politician.


There is a notice of motion that is now part of the minutes – proposed at the last meeting to allow Oliver Town Council to have a review and a say on every budget involving taxation of the population. Bravo Councillor Mattes – you are indeed a mind reader:

Frank Venables Theatre – what is the subsidy for capital and operations – not sure I have ever seen those figures.

Oliver and District Heritage Society – what is the subsidy?

Oliver and District Parks and Recreation Society – check those figures at the top of the page

Oliver Landfill – Garbage and Recycling

RDOS Administration costs

Sterile Insect Release program

Fire Protection – Oliver Rural Fire Protection District/OIB

To clarify – council appoints members of it to represent itself on most of these semi- independent groups…. but two much power is vested in the two people who make all the decisions at the Regional Board table  for Oliver rural/town.

The suggestion is that all of these societies and groups receiving tax dollars should appear annually before council – when scheduled – along with the local Regional District Director for a review of what is paid for in the subsidy in relationship to a business case of revenue vs costs and any changes proposed in a need for MORE money from the deep pockets.

Martin,,, hope that helps!!!

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5 Responses to Open letter to Martin Johansen

  1. Carolyn Madge says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mike. Someone very aptly quoted a long time ago, “If you have something to say you should have the courage to own it by identifying yourself.” And Jack, I believe you are breaking your own very strict rule.

    Publisher: I do believe Mrs. Madge has been involved in ODN for many years. A relentless fan, a person who helped, always available. How could I not listen to CM. Her aunt Marie is my Godmother.

    Truth is stranger than fiction.

    Most pictures on ODN are the work of Jack Bennest, whether he uses the no·men·cla·ture of “by Crackers” or “photo by Stocks”. And I have finally come to the conclusion that Tracy Morhun is correct in her opinion – Oliver Daily News is not the Edmonton Journal, the New Yorker, or the Delhi News.

    It is ODN. Owned and operated by the janitor that cleans the building each night. A website, blog and hoola hoop all wrapped into one platform that people seem to like, businesses that are attracted to it and…… on and on. ODN to say the least but honest is NOT capable of being exactly what each person or reader wants.

    It IS.

    In the end folks….. if you do not recognize the writer of a letter on ODN, the facts contained therein – you and you alone are misleading yourself.

    • Dave drought says:

      Every contributor to the comments section puts their name behind their opinions. It’s not a matter of guessing the author, it’s whether the author has what it takes to stand behind his/her words.

  2. Mike Mills says:

    What happened to requiring names on all comments and letters?

  3. Garry Bogdan says:

    Who is this “open” letter from?.

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