Municipal inspection results next week

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A long-awaited municipal inspection report on the City of St. Albert is set for public release during a special council meeting on Tuesday.

The report will be presented to city council by George Cuff, the inspector who compiled the report.

Cuff completed his inspection in June and submitted his final report to the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs on July 24, which had to review the report before it could be released to city councillors.

Mayor Nolan Crouse said the city council has yet to view the report and will see it for the first time at Tuesday’s meeting, which begins at 3 p.m. with an in camera session. The meeting will be open to the public at 4 p.m.

It’s unclear if councillors will view the entire report in camera first or if that session will only include a general overview.

“It’s really a report card on the city, some of the things council has been doing and some of the governance-related issues of the city,” he said.

“I don’t have a good sense of what theme it’s going to take.”

The inspection cost the city of St. Albert $80,000.

While compiling the report, Cuff spent more than three months reviewing city council meetings, interviewing former city employees and looking at background documents.

The inspection was proposed after city council was embroiled in ongoing controversies after former city manager Patrick Draper hired a sitting councillor, Gilles Prefontaine, for a senior management position at city hall. Both Draper and Prefontaine have since been let go from the city’s employ.

Crouse said he expects the report will have an effect on city administration as well.

“I think that what’s going to happen is it’s going to inform (them) on how to handle things in the future, on a governance, council or administrative level,” he said.

With the report being released in advance of the Oct. 16 municipal election, Crouse – who will not be seeking another term as mayor – said he expects it will give new candidates something they can add to their platforms.

“People are going to be able to glean out of it the things that matter to them, and they’re going to say, ‘Listen, if I’m elected, I’ll work on these issues,’” he said, adding the report could also be used to point out strengths and weaknesses of current council members.

“I think it’s going to have an influence on the upcoming election.”

Despite initially voting against the report when the topic came before council on July 6, 2016, Crouse said he is looking forward to it now that it is complete.

“It’ll be interesting to see what people (think),” he said.

“I said back then and I say it now – be careful what you wish for.”

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