Friday, February 26, 2016

Shaunna Morgan - New City Hall Watchdog?

Consultants Don't Need Business Licence?

Regular Council watchers will be aware that Shaunna Morgan appeared before city council at a recent Committee of the Whole meeting beseeching Council to conduct an investigation into the hiring of interim City Manager Tracy Samra. She further requested council engage a third party to oversee the hiring of our permanent city manager. Claiming no confidence in the process of hiring our interim manager (she never disclosed her source of information) and no confidence in this council to hire our permanent city manager.

Throughout her delegation to council she kept insisting it was all about the process which led to the hiring of the interim manager that was the issue and that it had nothing to do with the qualifications of the person chosen. One might be forgiven if this doesn't really pass the smirk test. When asked by a councillor if she had any issue with the appointments recently at the Regional District, she seemed oblivious to the point being made.

Being a curious fellow by nature I thought I might see who this new city hall watchdog was, having only heard of her recently through some social media posts, where she seems to be championing our Mayor. She is also associated with local businessman Don Bonner, who, some may recall put up the original post on Facebook, claiming inside knowledge into the hiring of our interim city manager.  That post has subsequently been taken down.

I discovered that Ms Morgan and another person are the owners of Van Isle Consulting, from which website the above screengrab was taken. Since Ms Morgan presents as someone very concerned about process and the proper order of things in Nanaimo, I thought I would check to see if she was licenced to do business in the city of Nanaimo. She had given her residence/business address as being 1000 Terminal Ave. Nanaimo, when she made her delegation to council.

When I could find no record of a business licence to that company, claiming to be operating for several years, I inquired of Ms Morgan if they were in fact licenced to do business. I received the following reply from Ms Morgan:

As an independent consultant, we do not require a business license Jim.

Please review our website for the services we offer.

I hope this ‎answers your question.

Shaunna Morgan

This didn't strike me as being correct so I inquired of city hall and received the following response to whether or not a consultant, conducting business in Nanaimo is required to be licenced:

Good morning Mr. Taylor – your email below has been forwarded to me for a response.  Please be advised, Section 3.1 of “BUSINESS LICENCE BYLAW 1998 NO. 5351” requires any business entity carrying on business in Nanaimo to hold a valid City of Nanaimo business licence.  Unless, pursuant to Section 3.5. a business is a not-for-profit organization registered as a society then a business would be exempt from the requirement to hold a valid City of Nanaimo business licence.

The definition of a Business - means:

(a) carrying on a commercial or industrial undertaking of any kind, or
(b) providing professional, personal or other services for the purpose of gain or profit.

Subsequently, if Van Isle Consulting Ltd. is conducting business (consulting) within City of Nanaimo boundaries, they require a City of Nanaimo business licence or an Inter-Community Business Licence from one of the 12 participating municipalities to do so.

I trust Ms Morgan will be applying for a business licence, and perhaps paying the fees she clearly has not paid in years past. I believe there is a substantial fine for conducting business in Nanaimo without a business licence.

Jerry Berry & Associates
Cracey Holdings

No Business Licence Either??

After determining that consultants did in fact need a licence to operate in the city of Nanaimo, I tried to see if ex-city manager Mr. Berry was licenced as I know he too is a consultant. I couldn't find a business licence issued in that name either.

Cracey Holdings, you may know as the company the City of Nanaimo generously gave the old annex to for $2.00 and just recently extended their option to purchase for another five years. Turns out I couldn't find a licence for them either.

You have to wonder if the city of Nanaimo doesn't have a policy about entering into a business arrangement with companies that aren't licenced to do business in our city. It would be hard to imagine that Mr. Berry was unaware of the requirement and Cracey Holdings for that matter since Mr. Moss is well known in downtown business circles.



  1. This ALL STINKS of things that are VERY WRONG at City Hall and need to be cleaned up and out by the new administration. No time like the here and now!

  2. Yes, I would have thought everybody knew this, that one has to have a business license in Nanaimo. Councillor Bestwick did a good job of courteously explaining the hiring process of our interim City manager, who everybody is delighted with. Best process ever, in Nanaimo. What IS behind this complaint? It is about something else, that is hidden. - Madeline A. Bruce.

  3. So. If Cracey Holdings does not legally exist, how did the city do business with it? I would suggest that the city give back the two dollars and reclaim the annex before McKay falls off his unicorn while humming Puff the Magic Dragon.

    1. IF Cracey did not have a business license at the time, then the city needs to say the deal is null and void and buy back the land for a buck - I'll even chip-in a five-er! (But we will lose the two-dollars in tax revenue from Tectonica/Cracey!!!

  4. Very good sleuthing on this file. My how the self-styled elite of this burg all too often seem to think the rules don't apply to them -- or arrange to change them to suit their interests if they do.

    If this situation can be used to nullify the ridiculous annex deal, I say go for it. It might also be useful to see if the Colliery Dam spillway contractors have current business licenses.

    However, as far as the appointment of a permanent city manager (CM) is concerned, it's vitally important that council demonstrate that it is turning its back on past practice -- which was irresponsible in the extreme. The new CM must be the best candidate available and be hired for a defined term. The only way the best person can be determined is through a properly executed comprehensive search, assisted by properly qualified professionals whose business it is to assist councils in the selection of CMs.

    Anything less is unacceptable and will stain this council's legacy.

    BTW: council was right not to interview 20-odd candidates for a temporary CM appointment. That would have taken far too much time and served no useful purpose.

    1. But the old-boys network is working long and hard behind the scenes to make sure they tarnish any honourable person being considered for the permanent city manager job. THEY want their own person in there - to hide all the bones and unsettling deals buried in the City Hall basement!

  5. How can all the marijuana dispensaries in Nanaimo operate without a business license? Is this not illegal? How can they even rent a business location, let alone sell to the public as do staff? Being outraged over consultants who work from their house, should be directed at retail business operating from a business location with people walking in off the street to patronize their business.

    1. those who do not live in nanaimo nor pay property tax here should not be opening their mouths at nanaimo council either!


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