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Athabasca County still divided over Aspen View complaint

Second letter from Aspen View causes county to reopen investigation over alleged bad behaviour
Athabasca County councillors motioned to request town councillors to “review” their TED committee appointment.
Athabasca County will be reopening a code of conduct complaint it had left hanging March 12 after it received a second letter from the Aspen View school division.

ATHABASCA — Athabasca County will be re-engaging its third-party investigator to look into an alleged incident between a county councillor and an Aspen View board trustee.

During their March 28 regular council meeting, councillors voted 5-4 — Reeve Brian Hall and councillors Ashtin Anderson, Camille Wallach and Natasha Kapitaniuk were opposed — in favour of a motion to direct the investigator to request the information required to meet the requirements of a formal code of conduct complaint from Aspen View, and to report on council’s handling of the matter.

“Clearly this is a mess, and this divisive problem has not been resolved by what we’ve done so far,” said Hall.

Councillors received a March 14 follow-up letter from Aspen View — Athabasca County was unable to share both the March 14 and the initial Feb. 12 letter, citing the potential for an investigation and the inherent personnel issue — which brought the issue back to the surface after councillors had left the matter hanging during their March 12 meeting. Councillors had voted 6-3 — Coun. Gary Cromwell, Joe Gerlach, and Tracy Holland were in favour — against a motion to request Aspen View make a formal code of conduct complaint.

In order for the letter to be treated as a formal code of conduct complaint, three things are required under the county’s bylaw: the name of the council member or members alleged to have contravened the bylaw, reasonable and probable grounds for the allegation, including a detailed description of the facts, and the name of the complainant.

Aspen View was unable to comment on the matter, citing the in-camera nature of its discussions, although board chair Candy Nikipelo did say the division would be working with the third-party investigator fully.

“Our intention is to fully co-operate with the investigation and answer questions as they are asked,” she said in a March 28 email.

Cole Brennan

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