Focus of pecuniary interest story was flawed

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In my opinion, the Gazette article on Saturday, July 29, entitled “Crouse calls court case a trophy hunt” should have focused more on the trial facts over sensationalizing irrelevant items. Who covered the trivial costs of transcribing what was stated during a public city council meeting is inconsequential.

It is uncommon for a member of any municipal council to face pecuniary interest allegations, which is when a person abuses a position of power to vote on a matter that could affect them financially. This is the first time that I am aware of where a council member faced not one, but three allegations of pecuniary interest related to three separate issues.

If this had occurred in any other community, I would have expected the entire available city council to attend the trial in recognition of the severity of the situation. That Councillor Cam MacKay was there, but outside the courtroom, as deputy mayor to represent council in this situation is appropriate, and I was surprised that his attendance was considered remotely newsworthy

However, the facts are that the mayor voted on items – even after he was warned by councillors MacKay and Bob Russell and myself prior to the vote that because he may have a pecuniary interest, he should recuse himself. Although claiming to have legal opinions to justify his decisions to vote in spite of the warnings, he failed to provide evidence of this.

Holding someone accountable is difficult in this political climate. Efforts to maintain accountability can subject a person to name-calling.

Mayor Nolan Crouse claimed that the nine-month-old pecuniary lawsuit was a trophy hunt. This is absurd.

The judge has heard the arguments and will render his decision at a later date. That is the real story.

Sheena Hughes, St. Albert city councillor

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