Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Youtube / City of Kelowna)

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Youtube / City of Kelowna)

Kelowna mayor claims spotty attendance at regional district is not due to volunteerism

Basran also denies claims he only volunteered at KGH to get an early vaccine

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has missed several Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) board meetings over the course of 2021 so far, but he denies his regular volunteering has anything to do with those absences.

For the past year, Basran has spent most Thursday mornings from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. volunteering at Kelowna General Hospital’s (KGH) coffee shop — a gig that earned the 43-year-old politician an early COVID-19 vaccination. The RDCO board of directors, of which Basran is a member, also meets on some Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m.

RDCO board members have met on six Thursdays in 2021 for board meetings, government and service committee meetings, or both. According to meeting minutes, Basran has missed five of those. Three other meetings have fallen on Mondays and Basran has attended each one.

‘Personal appointments’

Basran claims he’s not skipping RDCO meetings to volunteer but has been attending immovable “personal appointments” on Thursday mornings over the past two months. He did not divulge the nature of those appointments, only calling the matter “private.”

Those appointments were at 10 a.m. on Thursday mornings, with the final one having occurred on April 8. On the days there was a board meeting that conflicted with that appointment, Basran chose to pull short shifts at the coffee shop rather than attending the meeting due to the fact he would’ve had to leave early.

Before the appointments began earlier this year, Basran said he attended Thursday RDCO meetings instead of working at the coffee shop, pointing to his attendance at 2020 meetings as proof. Meeting minutes show he missed just two of 20 meeting days in 2020.

For all but one of the meetings he missed in 2021, Kelowna councillor Mohini Singh appeared in his stead in her role as alternate director. Singh fills in when any of the seven Kelowna city council members who serve on the RDCO board can’t attend. She says she doesn’t know why Basran has been unable to attend.

“It’s none of my business,” said Singh. “I don’t ask anybody why I’m going and they’re not; I just go.”

Singh is remunerated for her time on a per-meeting basis, but Basran confirmed he also gets paid for meetings he doesn’t attend. RDCO financial disclosures from 2019 show board members earned $18,552 that year, regardless of attendance.

Basran said he still does the work, studying the items on the agenda, contributing his opinions in advance of the meetings. He likened his absences to taking paid personal time for appointments at any ordinary job.

“I don’t see why, just because I’m an elected official, I should be treated any differently,” Basran said.

Board chair Gail Given said Basran informed her he would be missing certain meetings and he has not breached the Local Government Act, which states board members are disqualified from service after four consecutive absences at regularly scheduled board meetings. Due to the Monday meetings Basran participated in, he did not miss four in a row.

Now that the appointments have ended, Basran said he’ll be able to attend meetings from now on, barring an illness or other personal circumstance.

Early vaccination

Basran also rejected social media accusations that he only began volunteering at KGH to get an early vaccination.

Given he’s 43 years old, Basran shouldn’t be eligible for inoculation under B.C.’s vaccination rollout plan for a few months. But along with hundreds of other healthcare volunteers in the Interior Health region, Basran received his first dose due to his proximity to health-care workers and hospital patients.

Basran said he reached out to the KGH Foundation looking for volunteer opportunities as soon as the pandemic began. As soon as it was safe to do so, the foundation let Basran work at the coffee shop.

“I understand peoples’ frustration, but I didn’t make the rules in terms of volunteers being allowed to get their vaccine. It wasn’t created for me,” he said.

“The only reason I’m being scrutinized is because of my position, but I’m a volunteer just like anyone else.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of KelownaCoronavirus

Just Posted

princess margaret
Penticton high school has COVID-19 exposure days

Princess Margaret Secondary had potential days of exposure May 10-12

Brandon Messier of Messier’s Concrete and Landscaping has added some unique, glowing features to his front yard at 28 Huth Ave. (Submitted)
PHOTOS: Glowing boulders popping up in Penticton yards

Local landscaper Brandon Messier also brought the Lost statue to its new home

There is nothing left of a structure that burned down in rural Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Nothing left at fire scene in Summerland

Summerland firefighters arrived when the structure was fully engulfed in flames

Penticton city parks staff were busy this week using the beach grater to sift through sand, getting the shores ready for beach season. When it comes to beach clean up they are collecting run-off debris, pulling weeds and picking up litter. (Penticton photo)
Hottest day of the year, so far, in the South Okanagan

Penticton city park staff cleaned up the beaches getting ready for the season

Discovery House executive director Jerome Abraham in front of the third building, Parkers Place, for the addiction recovery program. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Discovery House opens Parkers Place in Penticton to provide transitionary care

The addiction recovery program is now able to provide support for as long as necessary

Conservation Service Officer Kyle Bueckert holds a gold eagle that was revived from acute rodent poisoning Monday, May 12. Photo: Submitted
‘Obviously, he’s a fighter’: Golden eagle, recovered from poisoning, back in Kootenay wild

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

This bird box at the Salmon Arm Foreshore lies broken on May 14, 2021 after someone pulled the pole out of the ground and smashed the formerly occupied nest. It was one of more than 30 that have been wrecked. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Destruction of nests, birds at Salmon Arm foreshore described as horrifying

More than 30 bird boxes made by community destroyed, just one was not occupied

Ranchero resident Cody Krabbendam proudly displays the Lifesaving Society awards he recently received for a rescuing another boy while swimming at Sicamous Beach in July 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery, scholarship for rescue at Sicamous beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

A pedestrian wearing a mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 is bundled up for the cold weather as snow falls in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, February 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snow possible in mountain passes as cold front hits southern B.C.

Much of B.C.’s southern interior will see temperatures plunge from highs of 30 C reached over the weekend

File photo (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Overturned kayak in Kelowna creek prompts police response

Kelowna RCMP is looking to speak with anyone who may know the individual associated with the kayak

Penticton city parks staff were busy this week using the beach grater to sift through sand, getting the shores ready for beach season. When it comes to beach clean up they are collecting run-off debris, pulling weeds and picking up litter. (Penticton photo)
Hottest day of the year, so far, in the South Okanagan

Penticton city park staff cleaned up the beaches getting ready for the season

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
B.C. boy receives medal of bravery, scholarship for rescue of child at Shuswap beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

Most Read