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HomeCanadian NewsChestermere mayor slams province's municipal inspection report

Chestermere mayor slams province’s municipal inspection report


In an almost half-hour-long video posted to town’s YouTube channel Saturday, Mayor Jeff Colvin confirmed his battle together with his provincial overseers is not over

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Chestermere Mayor Jeff Colvin is taking purpose at a province-ordered probe of his metropolis’s embattled authorities, lambasting the prolonged report and findings stemming from that investigation as a “fictional doc” constructed on rumour.

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In an almost half-hour-long video posted to town’s YouTube channel Saturday — answering what town stated have been questions requested by residents in regards to the report — Colvin confirmed his battle together with his provincial overseers isn’t over. He once more highlighted his frustrations with the investigation and made a number of pointed allegations on the province and the third-party inspector it appointed to conduct the probe.

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“The report that we had was an entire distortion of the info by (inspector) George Cuff and … (Municipal Affairs Minister Rebecca Schulz) was dropped into this mess that was created by the earlier minister, Minister (Ric) McIver,” Colvin stated. McIver ordered the uncommon municipal inspection into Chestermere’s governance — the primary of its form in Alberta since 2018 — in Might final 12 months and Schulz took over the municipal affairs portfolio final November.

Earlier this month, Schulz handed town a slate of 12 binding directives primarily based on the scathing 215-page report’s findings, bringing the 10-month-long inspection course of to an in depth. If the minister’s edicts aren’t adopted, it may lead to motion as extreme because the dismissal of the mayor, councillors or metropolis directors.

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We apologize, however this video has did not load.

Metropolis to offer proof to contend ‘fictional’ report: mayor

In the end, Colvin claims Cuff’s report — which discovered 25 situations of “irregular, improper and improvident” governance, together with a minimum of 17 legislative infractions — was unfair and primarily based largely on rumour with none alternative for town to evaluation or reply to the proof, nor have been the folks the inspector spoke with over the course of his investigation required to offer info below oath.

“(Normally) you’re entitled to see what you’re being accused of after which present proof that it’s incorrect or present proof that it’s on the contrary. However with George, he wasn’t prepared to offer something and that was actually odd,” Colvin stated.

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Nevertheless, the province did give town and its elected officers an opportunity to answer the report, giving town greater than a month to supply a response to a draft model of the findings in November. As an alternative, in an almost 3,000-word rebuke of the draft report on its city-run information web site in December, town stated it refused to offer a response to the province, making a number of comparable allegations in regards to the investigation’s shortcomings and claiming Cuff and former minister McIver have been biased in opposition to town.

Nonetheless, the mayor accused Cuff of “utilizing a bunch of rumour conversations that will have occurred or could not have occurred,” all through his report. Colvin stated town will present its personal proof associated to a few of Cuff’s findings because the minister’s directives make their option to council conferences for motion within the coming weeks and months.

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“(Residents will) be capable to see, ‘Wow, that’s what was really the reality versus what was written within the inspection,’” he stated. “And so, while you present proof, it’s apparent and so, you understand, the inspection report is only a fictional doc.”

Inspector, minister defend report

As Cuff and Schulz introduced the inspection report and the province’s directives at a city corridor in Chestermere on March 15, each stood by the report and countered the mayor’s and town’s steady claims of bias and procedural points associated to the investigation.

“The work of the impartial inspector and of the federal government officers concerned with the Chestermere inspection has been exemplary,” Schulz stated to a Chestermere Recreation Centre gymnasium filled with disgruntled residents.

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“These are all certified professionals who’re devoted to public service and completely disinterested within the native politics of Chestermere. They share one frequent objective and that’s to see good governance in place for the residents of Chestermere. They’ve carried out their jobs.”

Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Rebecca Schulz delivers the province’s findings to Chestermere residents and observers at the recreation centre in Chestermere on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Rebecca Schulz delivers the province’s findings to Chestermere residents and observers on the recreation centre in Chestermere on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Jim Wells/Postmedia

Colvin claims town is already adhering to the vast majority of Schulz’s directives, describing them as “sometimes what a municipality does anyhow,” although it’s unclear which particular directives he was referring to.

“While you break down every a type of directives, it actually exhibits that there was nothing to the inspection and that’s what we’ve been saying from the start,” he stated. “These directives, for probably the most half, we’ve already been doing.”

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Council to deliberate motion on some directives this week

Among the many directives, the province ordered town to discover a new auditor to full its overdue 2021 audit and upcoming 2022 one. Former auditor KPMG resigned final December attributable to repeated authorized threats levied by town and has since butted heads with town after it falsely claimed KPMG had signed off on its 2021 financials.

Regardless of these challenges, Colvin stated it’s within the means of procuring a brand new auditor and expects the audits for each years to be full quickly.

Different directives order council to cease performing administrative duties; rent consultants to evaluation its uncommon three-pronged CAO mannequin — which the report states lends to council overreach into administrative operations — and help with intra-council battle; and amend its code of conduct bylaw and rent a 3rd get together to deal with conduct investigations, which the mayor has been accused of overusing previously.

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Moreover, Schulz has mandated town present her with a complete listing of all municipal land gross sales since Colvin’s election in October 2021 attributable to points in that realm highlighted in Cuff’s report.

Council additionally stays below the supervision of a province-appointed official administrator, put in final September to supervise the dysfunction inside council, who has the ability to quash any choice council makes. The administrator is slated to stay on the metropolis a minimum of till the tip of the 12 months.

Council is slated to obtain experiences on a number of of the minister’s orders at a gathering Tuesday. The complete listing of directives and the inspection report is out there on the Authorities of Alberta’s web site.

Twitter: @michaelrdrguez


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