Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 27, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
Travel association members request Kotch's resignation Most social service agencies get nod By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer Steve Kotch will be asked to resign as chairman and president of the Southern Alberta Travel and Convention Association, an emergency general meeting of the membership decided in Lethbridge Wednesday. The decision regarding Mr. Kotch was endorsed by 21 of the 28 members in atten- dance after, they spent about three hours listing to the reports from former associa- tion staff on disputes with the president and discussing the internal problems of the organization. Only member voting against the motion was Sven Ericksen. He was also the only member to support a vote of confidence in Mr. Kotch. Mr. Kotch, who was elected as president of the association in October, did not at- tend the meeting. It was indicated at the meeting that the president was embroiled in disputes with the staff since his election and it was in reaction to the treatment they received from Mr. Kotch that the entire staff quit Jan. 29. Mr. Kotch last week called the Wednes- day meeting "illegal and highly irregular." Those organizing it said they had contacted two lawyers for advice and learned the meeting would be legal if 15 members in good standing attended. Even with the consensus of the discus- sion appearing to be that the only direction for membership would be to stand united against what one member called the "dogmatic dictatorship attitude of the no one seemed anxious to offer a resolution calling for the resignation. Again and again the chairman asked for action and members stood to suggest the resignation was required if the organiza- tion was to survive but each time backed down from making the motion. During and after the meeting at least six people said they had been threatened with a law suit by Mr. Kotch for comments they had made about his actions as president. The members decided defeating a mo- tion of confidence in Mr. Kotch's presidency would be the hint needed to produce a resignation from the president. Only one member supported the vote of confidence. i Only two of 12 applications for Preventive Social Services funding this year have been recommended for refusal by the community ser- vices advisory committee. The committee Wednesday voted to recommend city council approval of 10 PSS projects, worth of which the city share is 20 per cent and provincial and federal shares 80 per cent. Recommended for refusal were the YWCA day care proposal and Project Concern, a program backed by the Centre for Personal and Com- munity Development that helps senior citizens maintain their homes. Other projects suffered substan- tial budget cuts in the community services committee recommen- dations. Pre-school services, which wanted to expand its program into a fourth school in September, was cut back to In doing so, the committee recommended to council that it urge the provincial government to fund Early Childhood Services by some other method than PSS. Early Childhood Services is the funding agency for the pre-school program. The CPCD's homemaker service was cut from a request of to a recommended The ser- vice's request for funding to hire three more homemakers was narrowly defeated 3-2 by the ad- visory committee. The committee decided by the same 3-2 margin to recommend funding of the Southern Alberta Observational Nursery to the tune of Community services department administrators had recommended against funding that program. Other programs recommended for approval were: U of L Day Care Centre contingent on a un- iversity grant of North Lethbridge Day Care Centre Centre for Personal and Community Development counsell- ing programs Birth Control and Information Centre Golden Mile Senior Citizens Centre Society for Meals on Wheels Information Lethbridge Although funding for Project Concern was not recommended for approval, Bob Bartlett, community services director told the com- mittee it will likely get OFY fun- ding. It is currently funded with LIP money. Second Section The Letlibrulgc Herald Lethbridge, Alberta, Thursday, February 27, 1975 Pages 17-32 One supported confidence vote However, when it was pointed out'that Mr. Kotch's refusal to attend the meeting is an indicator that he is not likely to res- pond to such a hint, it was decided more drastic action was needed. It wasn't until the_chair threatened to call for adjournment 'that the request for resignation was moved, seconded and accepted. An earlier motion that included a re- quest for the resignation of city vice- president Rick Kratz was withdrawn. If Mr. Kotch refuses to recognize the membership's request for his resignation, the membership will ask the provincial registrar of companies to investigate the president's conduct and place the associa- tion in trust, the meeting was advised by Dr Neal. During the meeting, several actions by Mr. Kotch that members or the former staff felt jeopardized the association were outlined. After hearing reports from some direc- tors who attended what some described as the "secret Jan. 29 meeting" of the board, the membership agreed that Mr. Kotch had not complied with the bylaws in call- ing the meeting and, therefore, the meeting was illegal. It was during the Jan. 29 meeting that the written resignations of. the staff were submitted. Following that meeting three directors also resigned. Two members of the board executive, rural vice-president Belmore Schultz and treasurer Edith Leppard told the membership Wednesday they had not been informed of the Jan. 29 meeting. The reports of the directors who did at- tend the meeting indicated the quorum of seven rural and seven city directors was not met since the majority of the 16 direc- tors attending were from the city. It was also pointed out that a secretary was not appointed for the meeting. If Mr. Kotch took minutes at the meeting, he has not circulated them to the membership as required under the bylaws. "Either way you cut it" there was not a quorum Jan. 29 and any business that was carried out during the meeting was illegal, Dr. Neal told the members. That would include the acceptance of the resignation of the staff and in expenditures approved at the meeting. At the Jan. 29 meeting when Mr. Kotch' was questioned about whether there was a quorum, he ruled there was, three direc- tors, who attended the meeting, confirmed Wednesday. Concern about redirecting funds Most of the directors who attended the Jan. 29 meeting said they went to it un- aware of the problems between the staff and Mr. Kotch. They said they were caught by surprise when the staff resignations were presented. Other directors said they knew the meeting was called by Mr. Kotch to oust the staff. Former executive vice-president Frank Smith said he and three other staff members got wind of the meeting and felt they no longer wanted to be part of an organization that would discuss staff problems without inviting the staff to give its side of the story. Bernice Costanzo, who resigned as a board director following the Jan. 29 meeting, said she attempted to encourage more discussion about the resignations and suggested the staff be allowed to give its side of the story. Each time Mr. Kotch ruled her out of order, she said. The board of directors was chastised by some members Wednesday for not demanding the staff resignation motion be tabled until staff had the opportunity to respond. When a few members and directors suggested Wednesday that they had come to the meeting to hear the staff's side of the story, each of the four staff members outlined their concerns and reasons for resigning. i Mr. Smith described the confrontation j he had with Mr. Kotch over the expen- diture of public funds for a project that the j granting body had not designated the money for. Mr. Smith said he has asked Mr. Kotch to obtain authorization from the city for redirecting a portion of its grant. The board authorized Mr. Kotch to approach i the city but he failed to do so, Mr. Smith added. The former executive vice-president j said his concern about redirecting funds S was based on advice he and a former j president of the association were given by 3 a lawyer. j The advice, he added, led him to believe if he followed Mr. Kotch to use funds where they had not been earmarked, s he would have been acting illegally. 1 He also called his differences with Mr. Kotch a "clash of wills." Mr. Smith felt some of Mr. Kotch's ac- :5 tions were "an invasion by the president of li- the duties which normally should have 3 been fulfilled by the executive-vice presi- 3 dent. that is the initiation and the ex- S ecution of programs." 8 White desert Drifting snow conditions are expected to cease today in spite of winds forecast from the west at 25 miles per hour, gusting to 40 mjles per hour there much snow left to blow. While government snow plows were kept busy on district highways BILL GROENEN photo keeping snow cleared, many country roads were blocked. The Lethbridge weather office expects the spring-like weather to con- tinue with highs near 40 and overnight lows near 20. Chinook winds gusting to 40 miles per hour will prevail. Schmidt hits Ottawa oil entry Bilingual school okayed by separate board The Separate School Board Wednesday approved the es- tablishment of a bilingual elementary school which is to open its doors in September. The board agreed to seek a cost study of the bilingual school which would offer a Grade 1 class this fall, adding one grade annually. First graders would receive instruction in French, with another hour reserved 'for instruction in English. By the time students'reach Grade 3, French and English would be used equally by teachers. The school's first class has 28 prospective students: The board also approved an Officer may ease hospital bed squeeze ''Just giving people run around' There were several matters involving contact with provincial and municipal government which the president insisted he should undertake because "politicians speak better to Mr. Smith told the membership. Coordinator Kitty Dunlop told of a debate she had with Mr. Kotch over an issue he said he would pursue with the city, and then didn't. 'She said it was during the conversation that Mr. Kotch threatened to sue her for defamation of character. Mrs. Dunlop had worked with the association for eight years but decided to quit when she heard of the Jan. 29 meeting. She was particularly concerned because she said the president promised the staff would be allowed to meet the board of directors Feb. 4 to "thrash" problems out. "The next thing we heard was that he had called a secret meeting. And I said this is it. I .she said. Senior counsellor Elaine Allen said her differences with Mr. Kotch began last Oc- tober when he told her he would be unable to attend the annual meeting of the association because of commitments to the civic election. Mrs. Allen told the membership Mr. Kotch later told the annual meeting that she had left his name off the list but he 8 was prepared to run for president. She expressed annoyance with Mr. 8 Kotch for informing the Winter Games w office that the tourist bureau would w manage accommodation during the Games. The staff, she said, had not been Si directed by the board to fulfill such duties but the Winter Games officials continued to refer accommodation requests to the bureau because, she was told, Mr. Kotch i? told them to. j: "Instead of helping the many people who were calling for accommodation we were doing nothing but giving them the run around." S Convention organizer Brenda Black told the meeting the Winter Games mixup 8 "really upset me it was a very em- barrassing situation having people call us 3 and knowing we couldn't help them. We had not been told that we were to take care of accommodation for the Games. 'I would have been glad to help organize something because I feel that was one of 8 the biggest conventions this city will ever have, she said. S AH four former staff members said they i will consider returning to the association 8 if Mr. Kotch resigns. The Lethbridge Municipal Hospital has been given approval to appoint a central placement officer, it was an- nounced at a board meeting Wednesday. The green light came in a letter from Dr. J. E. Bradley, chairman of Alberta Hospital Services Commission, The central placement of- ficer will review patients to see if the patient should be moved to a nursing home. The officer will also see if the patient could be served by other community agencies, such as the Victorian Order of Nurses or Meals on Wheels Andy Andreachuck, hospital administrator, said applica- tion deadline for the position was Feb. 21. He has received eight applications and said 'interviews are expected to begin this week. The person hired will be someone, with public health background or related experience. In an interview, Mr. Andreachuck said a position such as this is necessary. "Right now, there are about 150 people on a waiting list for placement in a nuriing home." "Some might be on the list that shouldn't be, while others should be placed in a nursing home the ad- ministrator said. i He said an accurate assess- ment of a patient's needs is required. "People shouldn't be shunted into an institution. Some could stay home. Some could be outpatients." The service to be provided by a central placement officer is also expected to assist in- stitutions in the discharge of patients and identify gaps or duplication in community programs. "We've never had this type of position before and de- pending on the workload, it could be a part-time he said: Wages for the placement officer, he said, will be negotiated when the: person is hired. The establishment of a central placement officer is sponsored by the provincial government, he said, and the assessment of patients requir- ing various types of care will be done in accordance with the requirements of the Alberta Hospitals Act, the Nursing Homes Act and policies set. by the District Hospital Board. annual fall outdoor education program, total cost to be 100 this year..But a charge collected from 200 students in St. Mary's, St. Basil's and Assumption Schools and in provincial grants are ex- pected to leave the school dis'- trict with a net cost of Under the outdoor program, students will spend five days this fall at Camp Impeesa near Westcastle. The separate board also supported a suggestion by Superintendent Ralph Himsl that the Catholic diocese create a full time parish at Catholic Central High School. After a brief discussion, trustees agreed to ask the church to, appoint a priest to counsel CCH students. All costs of the proposed chaplaincy, similar to those recently created in two Calgary high schools, would be borne by the church, Mr. Himsl said. In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Dean Dahl, a physical educa- tion instructor of CCH. Over objections from other trustees, Steve Vaselenak recommended advertising for a replacement. When told the district only advertises when there is a shortage of applications on hand, the out- spoken trustee said: "We have a school system here. We want to get the best teachers we possibly can. "Maybe people who are applying for jobs during the year are applying for personal reasons. Maybe they want to get out of a situation or maybe someone wants to get rid of Mr. Vaselenak added. When told the superinten- dent decides wheather to advertise a vacancy, Mr. Vaselenak .asked: "Are we running a closed system By AL SCARTH Herald Staff Writer CARDSTON For all it's shouting that Albertans must control their resources, Conservative government has let Ottawa in the back door to the oil sands, says Alberta Social Credit Leader Werner Schmidt. "There is no better way for the federal government... to avoid the constitutional South transport urged CARDSTON Government funds should be used for regional public transport, not to interfere with local business, Cardston constituen- cy's Social Credit Candidate said Wednesday. Roy Spackman, 53, a physi- cian here, took the Socred nomination by acclamation after a second candidate withdrew from the race. Candidate Les Campbell, 60, a Jefferson farmer, told 75 people at the nomination that pressure of business and the early election call left him no choice but to withdraw. Dr. Spackman enters the March 26 election race with only one opponent in the field, Conservative Johnny Thomp- son, 50, a Spring Coulee farmer. Mr. Thompson, nominated late last year, has a head start on the Socred. "We don't have any public transportation between Lethbridge and Cardston, Fort Maclcod and Dr. Spackman said. "I think we should subsidize some form of public transport to neighboring communities." Such funding would be of far more value than "opening up government offices on main street in opposition to free enterprise." Dr. Spackman singled out sale of crop insurance as one area in which government interference would increase prices "three to four times." restrictions than to get into the oil Mr. Schmidt told a nomination here Wednesday night. and the federal government banded together earlier this year to save the giant Syncrude oil sands plant. "Once you go to bed with a different government, you're not as in control of your resources as youivere on your own, .that's for Mr. Schmidt said. "The Syncrude moves (by Ottawa) can force us to give up control of our natural resources just what we're fighting for." However, Mr. Schmidt said in an interview, as guardian of Canada's energy Alberta "cannot take the position that the rest of the world can go to hell." Ottawa wants to horn in on six of eight leases which the Syncrude consortium controls, he told 75 people at the meeting. That move means Ottawa could well say to other companies in the sands that "unless we get in, you get no tax concessions." The Social Credit Party "will never give in on the con- stitutional position" that Alberta controls its oil, Mr. Schmidt said. "But there is the respon- sibility to fellow Albertans .and Canadians to live together in peace. "We can get together and get a fair price, both for us who own it and those who need it." But negotiations cannot proceed with.attempts to grab Ottawa "by the collar." "Whenever we say our selfishness and greed must be satisfied first, then there is no room for consultation, for negotiation." Premier Lougheed may see himself as knight in shining armor in his own mirror, "but the real world isn't to his mirror. Mr. Schmidt repeated his party's concerns that the Alberta cabinet has "grabbed" dictatorial control of the oil sands region, and downgraded the legislature in spending more than million in special warrants in the last fiscal year.