Fiery debate fills Stettler County council chambers

Despite signing on to the new Councillor Code of Conduct at the beginning of the May 11 regular meeting, some Stettler County councillors had difficultly abiding by the Code.

While Bylaw 1557-16, which provides for rules of conduct for councillors in every aspect from confidentiality to code of ethics, was passed at the Apr. 13 regular meeting, the official signing was conducted on May 11.

Yet some councillors fell short of the mark with respect to the Code, directing barbs at each other and one councillor publicly admonishing administration.

As part of the Municipal Government Act Review, all municipalities are required to adopt a code of conduct that addresses councillor accountability and conduct.

All but two councillors signed on to abide by the code of conduct. Councillor Dave Grover declared that he would not sign, stating that is was “a gag order”.

In a phone call with CAO Tim Fox, Fox confirmed that Coun. Ernie Gendre had also not yet returned a signed document but that both councillors were free to do so at any time given there is no time limit for signing.

Legal action threatened

An angry Earl Marshall, former reeve and owner of Earl Marshall Trucking, slung rocks and barbs of his own at council at the meeting over a recent decision to award a contract for gravel processing to North Star Trucking.

At the Apr. 13 meeting, council voted to contract with North Star to process material in the Stormoen Pit that lies adjacent to land North Star is mining for an estimated cost of $125,000 to $175,000. The joint proposal was to work through the boundary line of both properties to utilize the material. Because of required property setbacks and back sloping requirements, the material could not be processed otherwise.

Marshall, whose company has been a long time provider of gravel services to the county, issued a letter to council stating they did not tender the work properly.

At the meeting, Marshall took the decision personally, “You know how long it took me to figure out you screwed me over? Thirty-five seconds!”

Reeve Wayne Nixon countered that the county had realized their mistake and took action to rescind the contract.

“We will re-tender or whatever it takes to rectify the situation,” stated Nixon

Marshall was not satisfied, “What I’m hearing then that it was a simple mistake? It stinks!”

Nixon took issue with Marshall’s shots, “Earl, you know you’re out of line by addressing council that way.

Respect works both ways.”  To which Marshall countered before leaving council chambers, “Respect is earned. Don’t talk to me about respect! Sir we will see you in court!”

Following the exchange, council directed administration to seek legal advice over the matter.

New shop on hold again

Second and third reading of Bylaw 1564-16 to authorize borrowing for the new county shop was delayed until May 25.

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