Abbotsford’s Bullying And Secretive Political Culture

By November 2, 2014Issues, Letters

Dear Editor. From Vancouver Island we continue to follow the final trajectory of a disastrous era in Abbotsford politics – at least until we see how it “ends” or “lands” on November 15th. In doing so, I wanted to refute or rather correct a statement made by Mayor Bruce Banman at a recent mayoralty debate, when he blamed you for all the “bickering, disagreement and nastiness” in or at the City.

As we’ve mentioned before, we feel that you and Abbotsford Today have played a courageous and pivotal role in exposing the dysfunction, secrets and lies, and pervasive bully culture that developed and flourished within Abbotsford City Hall over the past 8 years. And although there are times when we have expressed our concern with your approach, you’ve exposed many problems that the the public needs to know about.

So when and how did all the nastiness and bully culture at Abbotsford City Hall begin?

In my personal opinion – based on close observations, insights and experiences – it all started with George Peary. George Ferguson is not entirely blameless, however, as things (i.e a healthy, respectful culture at City Hall) started to unravel somewhat during his last couple of years in office. (How that happened is a different story) But the real and perceptible bully culture at the City, and the “values and behaviours” that allowed it to flourish and spread like a bad rash among some staff and members of council, were introduced by George Peary. His approach to “leadership” and “getting things done” then spread and took hold with plenty of robust participation from John Smith and Frank Pizzuto.

To this day I refer to it as the poisonous reign of Peary and Pizzuto. What a gong show it was, and believe me, there are current and former staff, as well as taxpayers, who know exactly what I mean. There are an abundance of examples and unofficial “victim impact statements” to support my theory, including some from residents and taxpayers.

So how do Abbotsford taxpayers, residents, and current local businesses get rid of the bullying and secretive culture that individuals like Henry Braun, George Murray and other new staff stepped into at Abbotsford City Hall?

I think the answer is pretty clear . . .

On November 15th, vote in record numbers and send a clear message to those Council Members who participated in a bullying and secretive culture or stood by and allowed it to happen.

Respectfully yours,
Sherril Guthrie

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