Councillor wants retraction

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Stettler County Councillor Ernie Gendre, censured for failing to disclose a pecuniary interest in a water line contract awarded on Sept. 14, 2016 would like to be exonerated.
Alleging that Gendre improperly voted on the project, which his son later benefited from as a sub-contractor, Stettler County council passed a motion last December to formally censure Councillor Gendre.
Insisting that he did nothing wrong and determined to clear his name, Gendre sought legal advice.
In a seven page document, municipal lawyer Gayle Langford concluded that Mr. Gendre did not vote improperly.
“In my opinion, at the relevant time of the vote, the facts as set out do not support a finding of conflict of interest or administrative bias that influenced Ernie Gendre’s decision to vote in favour of administration’s recommendation”, further stating that “…the pecuniary interest was contingent on factors that were outside of the reasonable knowledge of Council and Councillor Ernie Gendre.”
According to attached evidence, Langford points out that council were not directly involved in the tendering process, in reviewing the tenders, or any details of the contracts that would make them aware of any sub-contract details.
It was established that on Sept. 14, 2016, council was given a recommendation to accept the lowest tender for a project, being Wally’s Backhoe Services, were advised there were five bidders, but were given no details of the bidders.
They were not asked to review or comment on any of the prospective bidders, but simply asked to endorse administration’s recommendation of the lowest bid.
There is no prior history of a working relationship between Ernie Gendre’s son’s company, Diablo Directional Drilling and Wally’s Backhoe Services and Wally’s Backhoe services has stated that at the time of the awarding of the contract, they had not secured sub-contractors.
Based on this evidence, the pecuniary interest depended on “an unknown sub-contracting process under the control of the successful bidder and subject to the details in an unknown contract under the control of administration without input or knowledge of Council.”
As a councillor, Ernie Gendre maintains that he has always looked at every tender from a business point of view, his main objective always being to get the best price on any project.
“How can we save money for the ratepayers and put that savings toward other projects.”
Ernie Gendre was elected to Stettler County Council in the fall of 2013 with no prior experience.
He states he is not a politician.  “Councillor is only a title; I am a representative of the people and I am in it for the long haul.”
At the Feb. 8 regular County meeting, Gendre presented Langford’s document to council as information.
Gendre accepts the lawyer’s findings and does not intend to pursue legal action; he believes this issue still needs to be discussed in council.
Acknowledging that the letter contained information to learn from, Council’s position seems to suggest that this is a past issue and it is time to move forward.
Though no further action seems forthcoming, Gendre wishes to be exonerated, hoping to have the censure retracted.
He intends to pursue the discussion with council.

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