Don't believe everything you read or hear
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 06:00 am
Earlier this year, after nine years as a Sturgeon County councillor, I announced my decision not to run in the October 21, 2013 general municipal election. I believed I would remain a quiet spectator, but I have been drawn into a troubling chess game.
The Oct. 16 edition of the St. Albert Gazette included a paid advertisement by the Sturgeon Votes Committee as a follow-up to the “Showdown in Sturgeon.” Clearly the award-winning staff of the St. Albert Gazette would not publish a news article full of such half-truths and unsubstantiated claims. Since I was named in the advertisement, I feel compelled to respond.
The advertisement suggests, “We think you deserve honest answers.” I agree.
1. I support the decision of the incumbent and aspiring councillors not to attend this event. It is unfortunate that some council hopefuls attended this (Rigney/Kluthe/McGeachy) party rally sponsored by the participating incumbents.
2. The Alberta Utility Commission (AUC) hearings and council’s position on the power line was very challenging. A review of council minutes will show that the mayor and council provided (often unanimous) direction to administration. Mr. Tarnawsky did represent the county before the AUC under the oversight of the former chief administrative officer (CAO), our sole employee. The termination of our former CAO saw this matter resolved.
3. Council minutes show who makes a motion, but what is truly important is the majority decision of council. The decision to hire the interim CAO was a majority decision of council. One should not participate in the democratic process if they cannot influence votes or accept the result. In addition, the admission in the media by two councillors (Rigney/Kluthe) that they left the council meeting on Nov. 8, 2011 before the vote was called is a serious violation of the legislation that governs council, the Municipal Government Act (MGA).
4. The responsibility to negotiate a contract with our current CAO was delegated by council to Don Rigney and Tom Flynn. I know this because in an effort to bridge a divided council, I proposed the amendment to involve someone from “each side.” Mr. Rigney chose not to participate. Tom Flynn clarified at the Oct. 15 Namao Ag Society debate that provisions were included in Mr. Tarnawsky’s contract to ensure recovery of the county’s severance payment over time.
I am proud of my time on council. I can say that administration fulfilled its responsibility of advising and informing council, overseeing the operations of the municipality and ensuring the policies and programs of council are implemented – a difficult task when a council is so deeply divided.
I encourage all Sturgeon County residents to make an informed vote. Consider the track record of all candidates. Above all, do get out and vote.
Ken McGillis, Sturgeon County councillor, retired