Edmonton's Mayor Amarjeet Sohi is correct on one thing: the Edmonton Police Commission has too much power The commission members are volunteers and not accountable to the Edmonton elected officials. As such, by default they are not accountable to the public. That governance model is flawed and does not serve the public need.
Hockey Canada moved to a governance board model in the very recent years. The management of Hockey Canada recently have been able to withhold valuable information from their board as a result. Governance board members often do not know how to ask the right questions or are afraid to ask the toughest ones. That governance model is flawed and does not serve the need of the current state of hockey in Canada.
Library boards have been provided powers to do “whatever they wish” with the money they are granted and elected officials are not able to easily influence the direction. Library boards are one of the best lobby groups in Alberta and have lobbied the province to keep the decision-making away from elected officials. Library boards are not directly accountable to the public. The Library Act is flawed, resulting in the governance of libraries being flawed. The executive directors have significant control.
Housing management boards in Alberta have been provided taxation powers and based on the fiduciary role board members have, the elected officials are not able to easily be held accountable for the tax rates they set. It is unique and this model of governance needs a review.
Executive directors, presidents and chief administrative officers are able to withhold information from their boards and operate their entities without fear of deep penetration. Inexperience of board members, high turnover and lack of accountability of board members is common.
Consultants all across Canada are teaching others how boards and councils should be governance boards and governance councils. Elected officials, elected board members and appointed members are all too happy to take on the role of “easy street;” not penetrating and confronting what is believed to be hidden. Boards and municipal council members are being snookered all across Canada. The public is being snookered. Governance bodies are taught to “stay at the 30,000 foot level”. Board and council members seem happy to do so.
Board and council members should know who is involved in any lawsuit on both sides, what the implications may be plus if and when it may become public. Hockey Canada boards, other governance boards and municipal councils are often not aware of lawsuits occurring under their watch.
Freedom of Information and Protection Acts and in camera (behind closed doors) sessions are used by everyone to hide public conversations and hide information that should legitimately be publicly disclosed.
Federal governing bodies lead the way; too often behind closed doors except for the theatre we see on television. Provinces follow suit and they repeat the behaviours that the members of parliament do. Municipalities follow close behind. Other governing bodies follow that lead and we have little transparency, a lot of secrets, scandals, sex abuse, lawsuits and no one easily accountable. The governance models need overhauling.