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Councillor apologizes for comments

Coun. Gary Cromwell says sorry to colleagues, staff
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Following an Aug. 9 motion, Coun. Gary Cromwell was compelled to apologize in relation to the code of conduct complaints received while he was the Wandering River Fire Department chief.

ATHABASCA — An Athabasca County councillor and former fire chief of the Wandering River Fire Department has issued an apology following an investigation into his conduct while he was chief.

At Athabasca County's Aug. 9 regular meeting, a motion was made to compel Coun. Gary Cromwell to make an apology related to the code of conduct complaints and that he take workplace violence, and discrimination and harassment training with proof of completion by Dec. 31. 

“Moved by Coun. (Ashtin) Anderson that council direct Coun. Cromwell to issue a formal verbal public apology at the next regular county council meeting related to the code of conduct complaints received, and further, that Coun. Cromwell take workplace violence, discrimination and harassment training, and provide proof of completion by Dec. 31, 2022,” the motion read. 

At the top of the regular meeting on Aug. 25 Cromwell read a prepared apology. 

“I would like to offer my sincere apology to (director of agriculture and community services) Dawn Phillips as per our discussion in closed (session Aug. 9). When we personally spoke, it was not my intention to create any hardship or feeling of mistrust,” Cromwell said. “I will endeavour to continue to work towards being a better version of myself each every day and to move forward in a positive way. I look forward to a strong work relationship, a long work relationship where our effort will service our community well. To all of my peers I also offer an apology for the added stress and time this has caused. I ask you for your forgiveness and thank you for your time.” 

Coun. Anderson immediately made a motion to accept that Cromwell had completed what was asked of him by way of the apology which was accepted by a vote of 8-1, with Coun. Joe Gerlach voting against. There was no further discussion by council on the required training. 

Phillips was not present in the room for the apology but was aware of it, however she declined to comment saying in an Aug. 26 e-mail she “wanted to put it in the past.”

Reeve Brian Hall concurred in an Aug. 27 phone call.

"Council acknowledged that Coun. Cromwell completed what was asked of him and I believe that council would like to move on and focus on the other work that we need to take care of," said Hall. 

Heather Stocking

About the Author: Heather Stocking

Heather Stocking a reporter at the Athabasca Advocate, a weekly paper in Northern Alberta. Heather covers all aspects of the news in and around Athabasca and Boyle as well as other small communities.
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