Facts versus intimidation – County of Stettler Council

Democracy is a system of government in which power is vested in the populace, and who rule directly or through freely elected representatives.
The Alberta Elections Act requires elected officials to represent their constituency.   As per the Councillor’s oath upon taking office, this literally means that these officials will represent their constituents to the best of their ability.
Ability does not imply that a councillor brings to council only their training and experience.   It also requires that all councillors work together to ensure that an environment is established whereby discussion and debate thrives.
Discussion is the easy part: one only has to allow others to present their ideas.    However, debate is a whole different matter: one must be able to bring other persons’ thoughts into a process that involves a progressive collaborative benefit to our community.
Since most elected officials do not have the personal training to set up and make such an environment flourish, that duty usually falls to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).   However, he must always remember that the councillors are his employer.
To witness an event such as has occurred in the past six months whereby some of the councillors (along with the CAO) have chosen to press their own agenda and destroy even the potential of such an environment, rather than build on one for the benefit of our community, is disappointing.
Democracy comes down to a simple majority vote.   Used improperly, a majority can be used as a method of bullying.  However, bullying should never be condoned, in any form, ever.
I understand that personal feelings can cloud a person’s ability to be rational.   However, it is our duty as elected representatives to set aside our biases and remain rational even if controversy swirls around us.
I have engaged a lawyer (at my expense) and requested Municipal Affairs to review the accusations laid against me.   In both cases, plus in the open field of public legal opinion, I have been exonerated.
However, in my opinion, Reeve Nixon and some of the councillors have refused to use the process provided and required within our own Council’s Code of Conduct which states: Councillors are precluded from making pre-judgement close-minded decisions.
Instead, in my opinion, they have chosen to judge me from their own personal biased positions without any concern as to the damage that these biases have caused my family and our County.
The basis of their stand in this matter is a letter made public Nov 9, 2016 wherein Reeve Nixon made personal unfounded accusations against me.   Three of the six signatories to this letter were Reeve Nixon’s one brother and the same brother’s two sons.  For what reason did Tim Fox, CAO:
•  Have these names blanked out (censored to me) under the FOIP Act when the letter was issued to Council ? , and
•  Never honour the motion by Council designed to obtain legal advice on this matter and bring it back to Council?
The issues regarding this letter revolve around my pressing for cost reductions.    So, I’m at a loss as to why this became a bullying personal attack.
Despite this attack and the fact that it seems Reeve Nixon and Tim Fox, CAO are bound and determined to keep information from me through censorship by use of the FOIP Act, I continue to do my councillor duties for the betterment of our County.
NOTE: Out of the 375 pages presented to me under the FOIP Act in my quest for information, approximately 75 per cent was blacked out – fundamentally censoring me.    By being censored, in my opinion, by the CAO and Reeve, how can I:
•  Look after the best interests of my constituents, and
•  Do my elected job and keep pressing for responsible spending and the financial security of our County?
Note: Reeve Nixon continues to side-step the issue of his accusations against me.
By non-action, is he admitting he has wronged me?
For what reason does he insist on blocking my rights to due process provided to any Councillor?
Is his reason for not withdrawing his accusations publicly and through Council a personal one?
I feel these actions are an abuse of the position that Reeve Nixon was provided:
•  By an electorate that expects all Council members to act professionally for the best interests of their community, not according to their own biased self-interests, and
•  By an electorate that goes to the polls in less than four months.
Your thoughts on these matters would certainly be appreciated.
Member of the Council of the County of Stettler No. 6 and your representative,
Ernie Gendre

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