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Former CAO threatens legal action against Town of Crossfield

Crossfield’s former chief administrative officer may be pursuing legal action against the municipality in the near future.

Crossfield’s former chief administrative officer may be pursuing legal action against the municipality in the near future.

Ken Bosman and his lawyer, Jonathan Denis of Calgary's Guardian Law Group, appeared at the Crossfield Town council meeting on March 16. During Denis’ brief presentation, he outlined five allegations the Town had made against Bosman after the former CAO was released from his contract last month.

“In order to dismiss Mr. Bosman with cause, we respectfully submit to the Town they need to show Mr. Bosman engaged in criminal or financial malfeasance or misconduct, as determined by a court of law,” Denis told council, claiming no such determining allegation has been made.

“Respectfully, there’s simply nothing here that amounts to a breach of this level. My client always performed his duties in accordance with the budget approved by council and in good faith, looking out for the best interests of the Town.”

Bosman served as Crossfield’s top administrative employee for six years, from January 2015 until February. He was released from his contract – which Denis said included remuneration of about $193,000 in his last year – following a special council meeting held Feb. 9. 

After that meeting, long-serving Town of Crossfield employee Merel Jarvis replaced Bosman as CAO on an interim basis.

At the council meeting on March 16, Denis outlined five allegations he claimed were made against Bosman in a Feb. 19 correspondence from the Town, which cited reasons for his termination from the CAO position.

“It’s our submission he was an exemplary employee who looked out for the best interests of the citizens of Crossfield,” Denis said. “He did have some disagreements with members of council and some members of the town. Although some people may have not liked Mr. Bosman, it’s our respectful submission that this in and of itself does not constitute legal just cause for dismissal.”

Three of the allegations pertained to Bosman’s dealings with 314 Pure – a medical cannabis production company in Crossfield. According to Denis, council accused Bosman of unilaterally refunding the business a $12,000 tax penalty, reversing utility bills and granting a mortgage payment deferral.

The fourth accusation, according to Denis, was Bosman's approval without council’s consent of a $60,000 capital expense for Crossfield’s fire hall.

“A review of the 2020 capital tab clearly shows the tower was approved in the 2020 Town budget,” Denis said. “The direction to staff Mr. Bosman made was to correct the...system to match what had been approved in the budget, as there had been an error in a budget email to council by the Town’s financial officer in a Dec. 14, 2020 email. This direction to staff was therefore meant to correct an error and not unilaterally add an unapproved item to the budget.”

Lastly, Denis claimed Bosman was wrongfully alleged to have not brought a request for an engineering study to the attention of council.

Reached after the meeting, Denis told the Rocky View Weekly Bosman's objective is for the Town to honour a motion council passed on Feb. 9 to buy out his contract.

“We’re hopeful this can be amicably resolved in accordance with the motion that was passed, which in our view is a binding contract. We do intend to proceed forward with litigation in the event we can’t resolve this,” Denis said. “Again, we want to put our best foot forward. Mr. Bosman has really enjoyed working for the Town of Crossfield for the last six years and would like to leave on amicable terms.”

According to Denis’s presentation, the Town needs to reply to Bosman’s request by March 18. Otherwise, he will file a statement of claim against the Town and move for a summary judgment in the courts.

The Town issued a brief statement to the Rocky View Weekly after the March 16 meeting that the municipality “is not yet in a position to provide any comment as it works through the legal process.”

Scott Strasser, AirdrieToday.com
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19




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