A Calgary Board of Education trustee has resigned and in the same breath, very publicly accused the board of secrecy.
Lisa Davis announced her resignation on social media Monday, saying she made the decision after a motion that passed on Jan. 26, which she says the public has no information on.
“The CBE Board of Trustees passed a motion that hamstrings my ability to serve as a trustee,” Davis wrote.
“Given this motion is the final straw in continued restrictions on my ability to fulfill my duties as a trustee, I gave notice of my resignation today.”
Davis did not say what the motion was, only that it adopted undisclosed “advice” discussed behind closed doors, in an in-camera session.
“This sort of record of verbal advice once again flies in the face of accepted democratic processes and true transparency.”
“The board may pass motions, but those motions must be spelled out in a public forum. The public has no idea of what direction the board is taking given the vague wording of the motion.”
‘Wouldn’t frame it as secrecy’
In a statement, the CBE said it remained “confident that our current governance policies and procedures are fully compliant with legislation and strong governance practices.”
“The concerns expressed by trustee Davis are not those of the board. Through our policies, we strive to hold ourselves accountable to the principles of openness, transparency and continuous improvement,” it stated.
In an interview, board chair Marilyn Dennis reiterated that.
“I wouldn’t frame it as secrecy,” she said. “I would frame it as any corporation is going to have discussions in-camera around legal matters, for example. We were called together to receive some timely legal advice and there was a motion as a result of that.”
Davis’ resignation comes after the province ordered an independent audit of the CBE’s finance and governance. In her post, she said it’s important the review address the need for proper procedures and shine a light on the decisions being made behind closed doors.
“No democratically elected body can be allowed to hide information that is inconvenient or uncomfortable for public disclosure,” Davis wrote.
In an emailed statement from the office of the minister of education, press secretary Colin Aitchison said: “it was extremely troubling to see that Davis felt the need to resign during the independent governance review.”
“Her indication that the CBE is constraining her and other trustees from fully cooperating with Grant Thornton’s independent financial and governance review is disturbing,” Aitchison said.
“It is the government’s expectation that the CBE will allow their trustees and administrators to fully cooperate with this review.”
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The CBE said that is its intention.
“We are taking this investigation very seriously,” Dennis said.
“Trustees have been encouraged to be open and honest and transparent in their interviews. And to the best of my knowledge, my peers have complied.”
Davis said if she’s asked, she will also cooperate as completely as she can given all the constraints that have been placed on her.
“I remain hopeful the audit of the CBE will fully disclose the issues I have been fighting for over the last two years and more importantly, bring about true change at the CBE,” Davis wrote.
Global News’ repeated requests to Davis for comment were not answered on Monday.
The CBE has yet to look at a by-election date to replace Davis.