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“Contract discussion” was only that, says reeve

No motions made following in-camera discussion at Westlock County’s final meeting
WES - CC Oct. 12 IMG-9061
Reeve Jared Stitsen (left) and Coun. Dennis Primeau pictured via Zoom during the final Westlock Council meeting held Oct. 12.

WESTLOCK – The in-camera “contract discussion” on Westlock County’s agenda at its final meeting that sparked a Thanksgiving weekend e-mail quarrel between current and hopeful councillors, then led to a defeated resolution for its removal, ultimately was only what it was listed as — a discussion.

In fact the contract up for discussion at the Oct. 12 meeting was that of CAO Kay Spiess, who joined the municipality in April of this year — Spiess, in a follow-up interview, confirmed it was a six-month update on her contract, which council received as information only.

Coun. Dennis Primeau, who was not seeking re-election following eight years representing Division 7, had asked to have the item removed from the agenda stating it “wasn’t an urgent item” and should be left to the next council to review. His motion was defeated 1-5.

“Knowing background of what’s in there I think it would be only ethical and appropriate that we remove it from this meeting at this time,” said Primeau.

While Coun. Isaac Skuban agreed that making a decision of the CAO’s contract wouldn’t be prudent considering the election was less than a week away, he said he was willing to listen and take it as information.

“I’ll be voting to keep it on the agenda, but that doesn’t mean that I would be in favour of making a decision. I think there’s a discussion to be had, maybe not a decision to be made,” said Skuban.

In a follow-up interview, reeve Jared Stitsen agreed with Skuban, adding that he was unsurprised by the motion from Primeau.

“Overall what people are missing are the key words ‘contract discussion.’ It didn’t say ‘contract decision,’” said Stitsen hours following the meeting. “We were given some information at a GPC (governance and priorities committee) meeting which we talked about and it was supposed to come back to council for more discussion. And we had the discussion.”

George Blais,

George Blais

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