As the city hurtles towards the June 24 byelection, it’s time to start asking the would-be councillors about some controversial topics.
Where else to start but with the circumstances that have sparked the byelection itself?
In late April, the now-former councillor Gilles Prefontaine tendered his resignation to city council to take up a high-level job with the City of St. Albert as the chief community development officer.
The position was a re-jigging of the old general manager of planning and engineering position. Prefontaine initially applied through the external recruitment firm that was employed to narrow down the candidate field.
The hiring of a sitting councillor to take a city position raised questions about the ethics of a councillor applying for a job to work for the city they represent.
Council’s only employee is the city manager, and the position Prefontaine now holds reports directly to the city manager. His application was not public knowledge until he’d accepted the position.
See below for the question posed on this topic by the Gazette to the eight candidates. Candidates answered the question in writing and have only been lightly edited for spelling and grammar.
The Gazette will continue to ask questions of the candidates for each edition until the June 20 edition, the last edition before the byelection.
This byelection was triggered by the resignation of Gilles Prefontaine, who took a job with the City of St. Albert, raising some questions around the ethics of sitting city councillors applying to work for the municipality they represent.
If you believe Prefontaine and the city administration’s decision was sound, please explain to the electorate why.
If you believe the decision wasn’t sound, please explain what you would do to prevent the same thing from happening again.
Personally I would have never applied for the job. The situation brings up some ethical questions. I, nor the other candidates, are privy to all the details. However, I think city council should update the code of conduct. In the future a leave absence would be appropriate. It is unlikely a situation like this will ever happen again.