New Westminster teacher accuses Voice candidate of conflict on Twitter
School trustee Jim Goring, who is running for reelection on the Voice New Westminster slate, is upset about accusations in the Twittersphere charging him with conflict of interest.
But the author of the comments says they’re no different than the conflict-of-interest charges leveled by Voice in the past over labour-endorsed trustees being involved in union negotiations.
New Westminster teacher Stacey Robinsmith, who sits on the local teachers union executive, wrote on Twitter that Goring was in conflict when he negotiated in 2010 an agreement on the board’s behalf with the Massey Theatre.
Robinsmith, who also runs a blog called theleftcoast.ca, said then-Massey board chair Mike Redmond had contributed to the Voice slate in 2008, so Goring should not have been part of the negotiating committee.
“It’s along the same lines as Jim Goring and (Voice trustee) Casey Cook throwing it up continuously because there are teachers on the [board of education] and CUPE members on the board that there’s a conflict [during contract negotiations],” said Robinsmith. “I believe it’s something that needs to be explored. I say it doesn’t pass the stink test. It’s Tea Party politics. It’s obstructionist. It’s slowing down the work of the board so labour-endorsed candidates can’t get anything done.”
Goring took exception to the Twitter attack.
He said he was assigned to do the negotiations with Massey because he has experience in dealing with commercial leases. Also on the negotiating committee was trustee Lori Watt, who was endorsed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council and is employed by CUPE BC but is not running for reelection on Nov. 19.
Goring said Redmond donated $120 to Voice in the 2008 campaign, and with the slate fielding 14 candidates that worked out to $8.57 each.
“The elephant in the room is what is the amount you think is a conflict,” said Goring. “Where’s the direct benefit to Mike and myself on that? If we want to talk about a single contribution, let’s talk about that and let’s have an open discussion about that. What he’s (Robinsmith) not saying is the tens of thousands of dollars that have been contributed to the district labour council’s campaigns. Are those not significant contributions?”
Grant Osborne, president of the New Westminster Teachers Union, isn’t a Twitter follower so he wasn’t willing to wade in on the accusations about Goring.
But, in general, he said, “There seems to be an assumption that the trustees are beholden to unions. We haven’t seen it. The conflict of interest conversation is one that has gone both ways. Obviously it’s going to be part of this election and it seems to me all sides need to answer those questions. I would hope that all of them would be open to who they receive funds from.”
The conversation from Twitter:
@LeftCoast_Blog Stacey Robinsmith
DId @JGoring negotiate Massey Theatre lease with Mike Redmond? Same Mike Redmond who donated money to #Voice? Is that conflict of interest?
@JGoring Jim Goring
I negotiated lease, I understand leases. Mike Redmond was 1 of 3 for MTS, for SD40 Lori Watt, ST+ me. Board approved 100%
@LeftCoast_Blog Stacey Robinsmith
What did you have to promise Mike Redmond to obtain your donation? Just before you negotiated a lease with him? #nwelxn #voice