June 8, 2021
Council Rescinds Councillor Appointments
At the June 8, 2021, Council Meeting, Kneehill County Council passed the following motions:
“Council, in accordance with the Municipal Government Act and Kneehill County Code of Conduct and Ethics Bylaw, rescinds the appointment of Councillor Hugo to all committees and boards to which he was previously appointed, and permission to attend any conferences is revoked as a result of contraventions of the Kneehill County Code of Conduct and Ethics Bylaw.”
“Council directs Councillor Hugo to refrain from attending County job sites and facilities other than for Council and Committee of the Whole Meetings, and to have no contact with Administration, staff, and contractors, other than the Chief Administrative Officer or their designate.”
“Council will send a letter via registered mail confirming this decision of Council to Councillor Hugo.”
All three motions were passed with six in favour, and one opposed. View the Council discussion on YouTube.
The motions came following reports of misconduct on behalf of Councillor Hugo, who despite previous warnings continued to visit County job sites and question County contractors--actions in direct contravention of the MGA, and Kneehill County’s Code of Conduct and Ethics Bylaw:
Section 4.10 “Councillors agree to act with integrity, professionalism, and respect when interacting with Members of Council, other elected and government officials, Kneehill County administration, contractors, or members of the public.”
Section 5.3.3 “Requests for information will be directed to the Chief Administrative Officer or in the manner specified by the Chief Administrative Officer.”
As previous private discussions with Councillor Hugo regarding his behaviour have been disregarded, Reeve Wittstock cited Section 12.5.2 of Council’s Code of Conduct and Ethics Bylaw as the recommended disciplinary action.
Section 12.5 In the unlikely event that a Councillor has clearly violated any of the terms of the Kneehill County Councillor Code of Conduct or any provisions of the Municipal Government Act then the Reeve may recommend to Council that disciplinary action be taken on the offending Councillor…
1. For a Councillor's first offense Council may choose to privately discuss the matter and may recommend no further action. Should further action be taken then the penalty may be the loss of all or some of the offending Councillors appointed Committees.
2. For a second offence the penalty shall be the loss of all the Councillors Committees, all conference attendance including AAMDC and FCM conventions.
“It was a difficult decision for Council,” said Jerry Wittstock, “Council is bound not only by the MGA but by our own code of Conduct and Ethics bylaw, which Councillor Hugo signed and agreed to. There are appropriate ways for Council to conduct business, and Councillor Hugo’s actions have continued to fall outside that realm.”
With the passing of these motions, Councillor Hugo can continue to attend, make, and vote on motions at Council and Committee of the Whole meetings, but is unable to sit on any boards or attend conferences until further notice.