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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 1, September 2004

Political appointees still at it

Even while teachers were voting to elect college councillors, the political appointees on the college council were changing the rules and by-laws. The last regularly scheduled meeting of the politically appointed BCCT Council was held on August 27, 2004. The 90-minute meeting was filled with self-congratulatory talk about how effective the interim council had been.

The appointees on the council adopted revisions to all by-laws and policies of the college (more than 200 pages). The BCTF and other partner groups were given notice of the proposed changes in June 2004. Most of the changes were required because of Bill 55.

However, at the August meeting, the chair of the by-laws committee circulated a document containing additional changes to the by-laws and policies (over and above those proposed in June). A BCTF representative asked for a copy of the document, but the chair denied his request saying that the document was too complicated and could be misinterpreted and open to miscommunication. That was the first time a proposed by-law/policy document has not been available to the public at a BCCT meeting. A member of the council claimed that the document was only housekeeping. It was not.

The BCCT adopted the entire package of amendments to all BCCT by-laws and policies with no debate. The matter had obviously been discussed behind closed doors. The by-laws will be sent to the minister, who can disallow them within 60 days.

The adopted by-laws and policies document were posted on the BCCT web site later in the day, www.bcct.ca/about_us/bylaw_amendments.aspx.

One of the more offensive changes made without any notice or debate was the following:

Bylaw 3.A.03 Election of Members of the Council–Call of Election 3.A.03–now reads: The representative of each zone shall be elected by secret ballot of members of the College having their principal residences in the that zone.

The previous by-law stated the following:
3.A.03 (prior to August 27, 2004):
That the representative of each zone shall be elected by secret ballot of members of the College having their places of employment by a board in that zone or, if not employed by a board, having their principal residences in that zone.

This is a significant change. Now members employed in one school district but living in another will be unable to vote for the candidate in the zone where they work. Members will have to vote for the candidate in the zone where they reside. For example, a member employed in Vancouver and living in Coquitlam will now vote in Zone 8 (New Westminster, Coquitlam, Burnaby), not in Zone 10 (Vancouver, Richmond).

Another change in policy, which can be changed by a majority vote of future council, reads as follows:
New policy PI.L01 College-Sponsored Conferences:
Former College Council members will be invited to register for College-sponsored conferences at no charge.

This means they would like to use member fees to pay for these political appointees to attend college conferences.

As this issue of Teacher goes to print, seven BCTF-endorsed candidates have been elected by acclamation and teachers are voting in five zones.

The college fees for the 2004–05 school year are not due until November 30. The BCTF Executive Committee will be making recommendations regarding the payment of the 2004-05 college fee and the disposition of the BCTF Democratic College Fund.

– Peter Owens

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