Re: " RVC pushes for conflict resolution process," article, Sept. 29
The article covered the proposed resolution that Rocky View County (RVC) council is submitting to the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) asking for Municipal Affairs to act as a mediator in sanction and disqualification disputes. But it totally ignored the display of hypocritical behaviour from the majority on council.
For starters, they ignored the fact that Municipal Affairs already provides mediation services to Alberta municipalities. As I recall, Coun. Crystal Kissel asked for this mediation when the sanctions were first introduced. The majority refused.
At its Sept. 22 meeting, after council approved the proposed RMA resolution, Coun. Hanson tried to make a follow-up motion. His motion asked for mediation from Municipal Affairs, reimbursement of the three councillors’ back pay and for the County to stop all legal disputes against the three councillors. When a point of order was called, Reeve Greg Boehlke ruled Hanson out of order. Somehow Boehlke decided Hanson’s requests were not related to the resolution. If the two topics aren’t related, I’m not sure what would be.
As RVC staff pointed out, legal action is time consuming, costly and combative. Deputy Reeve Al Schule even acknowledged, “we could have probably avoided a lot of legal bills.” But instead of making use of Municipal Affairs’ mediation services, the majority wouldn’t even consider Hanson’s motion. They’d rather keep spending our tax dollars and forcing the three councillors to spend their own money in pointless legal battles.
Then, a few days later at their Municipal Planning Commission meeting, Boehlke made a follow-up motion that had nothing to do with the decision that had just been made. When its admissibility was questioned, the CAO responded by saying that the chair had full discretion to allow any follow-up motions. Where was this guidance during the Council meeting? Or is this an example of different rules for different people?
From what I’ve seen, the council majority repeatedly ignore the rules for themselves but expect others to comply with their interpretation of the same rules. The double standard is glaring. I also find it disgusting that the three councillors haven’t been reimbursed for pay that was withheld under the unlawful sanctions. Now that the majority is continuing to use our tax dollars to appeal the judge’s decision, their behaviour is even more outrageous.
There is no doubt that Municipal Affairs needs to take a stronger role in council disputes. It’s too bad that Municipal Affairs wouldn’t come in to do a thorough inspection of this council’s behaviour – that’s needed even more now. Unfortunately, I can’t see their RMA resolution going very far. The fact that the council majority continues to reject the services Municipal Affairs already offers raises real questions about their commitment to their proposed resolution. Why would anyone take them seriously?