Four members of Wheatland County council were under investigation for breaching the county’s Code of Conduct bylaw for comments made during the Tuesday, February 16 regular council meeting.
During Division 4 Councillor Tom Ikert’s request to draft a letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney regarding ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, comments were made by some members of council about having personally broken some of these restrictions.
Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link told the Mail, “There was a complaint that was submitted to the county in March 2021 that met the criteria of a complaint under our Code of Conduct Bylaw. Council proceeded to follow the outlined steps in the bylaw which provided us an option to hire an external independent team to review the complaint. The investigation team followed the procedures set out in the bylaw and provided recommendations to council.”
An in-camera discussion was held during the Tuesday, March 23 council meeting to deliberate the findings of the investigation against Deputy Reeve Scott Klassen, Division 1 Councillor Jason Wilson, Division 7 Councillor Ben Armstrong, and Councillor Ikert.
Following the investigation, it was concluded Deputy Reeve Klassen was not in violation of the Code of Conduct Bylaw. A motion that Deputy Reeve Klassen was not in violation was unanimously carried by council.
However, Councillors Wilson, Armstrong, and Ikert were deemed in violation through a vote by council.
Council then voted on writing a letter of reprimand for each of the councillors in accordance to the bylaw.
“I will not vote in favour of reprimanding an individual for spending time with their family or speaking against provincial regulations, even though it says it goes against our Code of Conduct Bylaw,” Councillor Wilson said during deliberations.
Each of the three motions to write a letter of reprimand was defeated, receiving two votes in favour and five against.