Melissa Wilton took the oath of office at the regular Morrin council meeting on Wed. Aug. 21 following her nomination for the vacant councillor seat left by Dr. Bob Graham.
Misinformation provided by the village office resulted in a letter from Morrin resident, Jason Wolf requesting an explanation regarding the nomination procedure for the councillor position that was not filled during the regular nomination process.
According to Wolf, administration led him to believe that he had until Monday noon on July 22 to present his nomination papers when in fact, once papers were filed the position is automatically filled.
There were no nominations forthcoming until Fri. July 19 when Ms. Wilton presented her nomination papers and the position was filled in accordance to the Local Authorities Election Act, Section 31(1) (b.) which states “nominations shall continue to remain open and be adjourned in the same manner from day to day until 12 noon of the day that the required number of nominations has been received or a period of six days”.
Public concerns addressed
Mayor Helton read into the minutes a letter from himself regarding the hiring of an assistant CAO and the legal consultation regarding the CAO’s retirement to inform the public, council and administration the reasoning behind the for steps taken by council.
The letter stated council has now been informed that CAO Plachner has not made any plans to retire.
The letter went on to say, “It is unfortunate that Ms. Plachner did not apprise council of her position during the discussions that led council to make their decision to search for an assistant…. as a great deal of expense and inconvenience could have been avoided.”
Costs for advertising for the assistant CAO was $1,436.85.
The letter went on to state that “As the public had concerns of a potential retirement package, council sought legal advice and was told that a pre-retirement offer could be construed as severance or termination.”
“Also, council was advised that it is not obligated to provide any package to Ms. Plachner if she initiated her retirement notification as she is currently receiving RRSP payments in lieu of a pension as outlined in a schedule negotiated by a previous council.”
The letter concluded, “As council has no intention of terminating Ms. Plachner’s employment, the matter is closed as far as they are concerned.”
Workplace harassment and violence policies approved
Council approved the Workplace Violence Policies and Procedures and the Harassment & Discrimination Policies & Procedures for the Village of Morrin.
Mayor Howard Helton presented a completed copy of the work he had done to prepare proper policies in the absence of further work by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner who had provided the original policies she had prepared at the December 2018 meeting.
At that time, she stated they had to be passed at that meeting to meet the requirements of Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Act.
However, council had not passed the policies at that time because of insufficient details including: no supportive procedures for reporting an incident, how incidents would be investigated and training.
The issue of these policies had been raised at several meetings in the meantime but no further work had been done by administration so Mayor Helton took it upon himself to do the work necessary to complete them.
Council passed first reading on the bylaws for the Municipal Development Plan and the Intermunicipal Development Plan prior to the public hearing set for Wed. Sept. 18 at the village office.
CAO Plachner agreed to email a copy of the Intermunicipal Collaboration Bylaw #368 to council who agreed to pass first reading although council did not have a copy prior to the meeting as per the Village of Morrin’s Procedural Policy.
Council passed all three readings of the new Bylaw #369 to regulate the planting, maintenance and removal of trees located on village property.
Any person who contravenes the bylaw is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000.
Council approved a motion unanimously to hire a contractor to put in a door into the public area hallway of the village office to create the office space for the Mayor without intruding on the CAO’s space.