EDITORIAL: Phoning it in

Back in the late 1970s there was a very cheesy TV show in which one of the characters never appeared in person, only over speaker phone.

Which brings us to the North Vancouver school board, where one of the school trustees has, over the last two years, perfected a similar role.

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Granted, this may not be the most serious issue with which the school district has ever grappled. It hasn’t directly impacted what goes on inside the classroom.

Indirectly, however, we’ll note the meetings where budgets were debated and passed were among those trustee Susan Skinner skipped two years in a row.

Skinner’s reluctance to show up, while still taking a paycheque – and others’ reluctance to do anything about it – doesn’t speak highly of the board.

At one point, Skinner put forward verbal allegations about why she doesn’t attend public meetings. But there have yet to be specifics or a formal complaint.

Board chair Christie Sacré has suggested Skinner is “not well,” which could mean many things. But there have been elected officials who were gravely ill – including some who died in office – with better attendance records.

Sure, the school district has functioned without her. And who’s to say it couldn’t function without two or three trustees or even without all of them?

But as long as local government exists and people are elected to serve on them, those people are accountable.

Showing up is a pretty low bar. In person. In public. In a forum open to the people who elect you.

If that’s not possible, politicians need to step aside or be removed.

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