A Kneehill County council member had their appointments to county committees and boards rescinded following a breach of the Kneehill County Code of Conduct and Ethics Bylaw during the regular Tuesday, June 8 council meeting.
Kneehill County Reeve Jerry Wittstock opened the meeting with an addition to the regular agenda to discuss council roles and responsibilities, and addressed Division 5 Councillor Jim Hugo who was in virtual attendance of the meeting.
“We’ve heard you’ve attended the work site at the Torrington gravel pit, and you had contact with contractors, which breaches your roles and responsibilities as a councillor,” Reeve Wittstock stated.
Councillor Hugo confirmed he had attended the Torrington gravel pit and stated he was “perfectly fine” with any disciplinary actions. He added he did not feel he could represent ratepayers in Kneehill County effectively without obtaining information.
Reeve Wittstock reiterated Councillor Hugo’s actions were “expressly forbidden” under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) and the Kneehill County Code of Conduct and Ethics. He noted private conversations stemming from a previous incident were held with Councillor Hugo.
“We have a great staff, great CAO, and a great council,” Reeve Wittstock told the Mail, lamenting it was an “unfortunate” incident for council to deal with this issue. Reeve Wittstock noted the usual process for council to obtain additional information is to go through Kneehill County CAO Mike Haugen.
Following a lengthy discussion, Deputy Reeve Faye McGhee made three separate motions pertaining to Councillor Hugo’s breach of conduct.
The first motion rescinds Councillor Hugo’s appointments to all Kneehill County committees and boards to which he was previously appointed and revoke permission to attend any conferences.
Second motion directs Councillor Hugo to refrain from attending job sites and facilities within the county, except for regular council or Committee of the Whole meetings, and to have no contact with Kneehill County staff, administration, or contractors other than CAO Haugen or his designate.
The third motion was to send a letter via registered mail to Councillor Hugo confirming the decisions of Kneehill County council.
The three motions were passed with only Councillor Hugo voting in opposition.