A Boyle village council candidate who’s running his election campaign on a platform of greater government transparency is himself being accused of having a hidden agenda.
Campaign leaflets circulated last week by candidate David Bencharsky were quickly followed by an anonymous letter of response, containing allegations which Bencharsky is now refuting.
In his leaflet, bearing a heading of, “For: Transparency, Accountability, Professionalism,” Bencharsky highlighted several recommendations contained in the Village of Boyle Municipal Inspection Report, which was issued this spring by Alberta Municipal Affairs.
Specifically, Bencharsky called for council decisions to be made at meetings only, immediately stopping all bonuses paid to employees that aren’t included in employment contracts, and questioned the spending of unbudgeted funds by the village. He also challenged the handling of several village land transactions over the past few years.
But on the heels of Bencharsky’s leaflet came a letter of response, signed “Very committed and supportive residents of current council for of (sic) The Village of Boyle.” It labeled Bencharsky’s leaflet as “misleading” and suggested that his entire election platform was based on the Municipal Inspection Report.
The anonymous letter claimed that decisions of council have always been made by way of motion, and that land sales are accounted for in the village’s financial statements.
Bencharsky said he stands by the information presented in his leaflet.
“Everything I got in that first leaflet that I sent out to the village residents was taken out of the Municipal Inspection of the Village of Boyle Final Report. I have nothing against the councillors in the village,” he said.
But the most damning allegation made in the anonymous letter is that Bencharsky fails to mention that he’s the brother-in-law of Ray Tannas, the former fire chief and village councillor whose firing last spring ignited the controversy that eventually led to the Municipal Inspection Report being ordered.
The anonymous letter alleges that Tannas cost the village over $100,000 in unbudgeted expenses “due to his petition and his constant complaining of this current council to Municipal Affairs.”
“It’s safe to say who will be the puppet and who will be the puppeteer if you should get on council,” the anonymous letter stated. “If you truly believe we as citizens are not aware of the hidden agenda by yourself and Mr. Tannas, then think again.”
Bencharsky rejected the letter’s allegations.
“To me, that is actually really terrible,” he said. “When you start complaining about my relatives, what happened in the past, and accusing them of unbudgeted expenditures, that’s a really low blow.
“At least they could have the gall to sign their names.”