The County of Paintearth is in hot water after a comment was made during their most recent council meeting.
Council was determining which two board members should be voted in to the Agricultural Service Board (ASB) and three members for the Weed and Pesticide Appeal Board for a one-year term.
Confirmation was received from Walter Pickles, Lorne Rodvang, and Gordon Wakefield to sit on the ASB so one position was left to be filled.
Jaron Bye, Dale Pilsworth, Marilyn Weber and Dan Bunbury all showed interest in the position.
Reeve Stan Schulmeister named potential candidate Weber a “Housewife somewhat”. Weber, in her letter of interest mentioned she has worked in the healthcare industry for over 40 years as well as worked on her and her husband’s family farm for roughly the same amount of time.
Councillors debated who they felt would be the best fit including Bunbury, Bye and Pilsworth.
“I do think that Marilyn has a good perspective as well. I wouldn’t cancel her out,” said Dep. Reeve Doreen Blumhagen.
“Sorry for using that term but facts are there,” said Reeve Schulmeister.
“I mean that there are women who are active in farming as well,” said Blumhagen.
“Yeah well…” said Schulmeister in a doubtful voice.
“Careful Stan, careful,” said Coun. Diane Elliott.
“She is just as qualified as everyone [else],” added Blumhagen.
The motion was made to have Dale Pilsworth and Dan Bunbury be appointed to the ASB while Walter Pickles, Loren Rodvang, Gordon Wakefield and Jaron Bye be appointed as Members at large to sit on the Weed and Pesticide Appeal Board for a one-year term.
Six councillors were in favour while Dep. Reeve Blumhagen was against it.
Since there was one more position needed to be filled for the weed and pesticide board. Weber, who was asked following the meeting, if she would be interested in that as she had only mentioned her initial interest in the ASB.
She has since accepted the position.
After a short break, Reeve Schulmeister opened the meeting with a short apology on the matter stating, “The word I used describing who was applying was not derogatory. It was not meant as such but because of sensitivities I formally apologize for using the term ‘Housewife’, although I think they are a very important position in our world.”
Since the council meeting, Schulmeister has sent a letter of apology to Weber for this comment.
Paintearth was randomly selected by the provincial government to undergo the Municipal Accountability Review (MAP) Report this year in July.
The review is conducted by Municipal Affairs officials who dive into administration’s policies, procedures, records and bylaws for compliance and items that are not yet compliant in the eyes of the Municipal Government Act (MGA).
It also gives council an idea of the diverse responsibilities of the county.
The final findings were accepted during the council meeting on Nov. 20 with 16 non-compliant items for the county to solve.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson noted these items were mostly about bylaw or policy wording.
“The items with this report now complete, the county was required to implement an action plan to tackle these non-compliant items which they passed during the same council meeting.
This must be done within a year which the CAO feels confident they will.
“Administratively we don’t see any glaring problems with the stuff they have identified. It’s just a matter of getting some policies and bylaws up to date,” said CAO Simpson.
For positives outlined in the report, the review noted the public participation policy as well as public presence at meetings, tax recovery, land use bylaw, financial records and receipts, and passing bylaws to name a few.
As for legislative gaps in administration’s books, they found voting, pecuniary interest, schedule of fees bylaw, bylaw revisions and amendments, salary and benefits disclosure, listing and publishing policies related to planning decisions.
“Things like the language around how for example the CAO was not appointed, the CAO was given an employment contract in your motion. Little things like that. It’s the working we have used in motions. No major problems,” continued CAO Simpson.
“They even stated ‘It’s not a witch hunt’, it’s a collaborative thing. Their intention is to have everything run a little tighter and a little more smoothly.”