Princeton election turns nasty

“I’ve never seen anything like it.”

That’s how Princeton’s CAO Cheryl Martens, who has spent a lifetime in municipal government and has run elections for the past 20 years, sums up what is happening in Princeton.

The election turned nasty for Martens two weeks ago, when several people took to social media with personal attacks.

One resident made numerous posts accusing the town’s top administrator of promoting members of council for re-election and covering up alleged wrong doing.

“It was insinuated that I was taking bribes. I believe it is an offense to accuse a government official of taking bribes.”

Another poster uploaded photos of Martens’ driveway on a public group, after an animal apparently dragged garbage to it while she was away on holidays.

Others said Marten’s comments were inappropriate given that she is also the Chief Elections Officer.

“I just think that [the election] is really bringing out the uglies in people for Princeton,” she said.

These kinds of online comments can harm the town, she added.

“We are trying to project an image that is Princeton and for the majority. It’s the few that make it look bad. A lot of people can go on these pages and look to see what people are saying. You don’t have to live here.”

According to Martens part of a CAO’s job in the new digital world is to use social media to communicate with residents, including posting information about what council and town staff are doing, and sometimes correcting false statements.

That direction came as recently as earlier this year from the Local Government Management Agency, she said.

Martens’ tasks as Chief Elections Officer involve overseeing the mechanics of the election – making sure paperwork is in order, hiring and training elections workers and ensuring that all laws and requirements are followed.

The Spotlight contacted Elections BC, and a communications officer confirmed the Martens did nothing wrong by addressing municipal issues on social media in her role as CAO, while also holding the position of Chief Elections Officer.

Following the comments on Facebook, Martens withdrew from all local Facebook groups after posting the following statement:

“After much consideration, having my ethics and integrity attacked, and being targeted personally, I have decided to leave all groups. There is confusion between what I do as a CAO and what an Elections Officer does. My intent and obligation to provide accurate information to the public has been seen as campaigning for candidates, which I have never done. It has caused me an enormous amount of stress and sleepless nights. I have been accused of using all of my work time to respond, which isn’t true. I spend most of my weekends and evenings monitoring the information posted on these groups. Like right now, when I am away on holidays. I will leave this up to the new Council to decide if they wish me to continue this after the election. If you would like information, please call the office and I definitely would assist you. Thank you so much for those of you who appreciated my posts.”

Martens also said, that while she has run many elections over the years, she has never voted in any of them, so as to preserve her position of neutrality.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Princeton – take a lesson from Penticton’s tragedy

What is there to say? Anyone following the headlines over the past… Continue reading

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun makes way for rain clouds

Environment Canada is forecasting a mixed bag of conditions

Hundreds join in Easter Fun Days in Keremeos

Kids and parents enjoyed some free family fun time at Don and Anna’s in Keremeos.

Children gather for Easter festival in Summerland

Fourth annual Easter Egg-stravaganza included activities and egg hunt

VIDEO: Weekday weather update for the Okanagan Valley

Rain, clouds and sun are in the forecast for the region

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Big Sugar headlines Gonzo Okanagan tournament and festival

The second annual event will take place June 14

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Salmon Arm inventor creates rooftop sprinklers to protect from wildfires

The Water Winger can be placed at the peak of a roof without climbing a ladder

Video: South Okanagan business owner distraught over thefts

Video shows two suspects enter the Penticton store

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

Kelowna History: Street name origins

Have you ever wondered who the streets were named after?

Most Read