Gateway Gazette

Province responds to Thorhild County concerns

 

Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee is taking action to ensure responsible and accountable governance for Thorhild County residents.

Three Thorhild County councillors have been removed from office as a result of an inspection ordered by Municipal Affairs. The inspection was carried out in 2015 in response to a public petition.

Minister Larivee has also appointed an Official Administrator to fulfill the responsibilities of council until a byelection can be held.

“It’s unfortunate when actions like this are required, but the provincial government has a duty to ensure the Municipal Government Act is being followed, so trust and integrity can be maintained at the local level. The circumstances in this case are extreme and action had to be taken to protect the interests of Thorhild residents.”

Danielle Larivee, Minister of Municipal Affairs

The Official Administrator will focus on maintaining normal county operations until a byelection can be held to elect three new councillors and re-establish a full council. The byelection will take place within 90 days.

The Thorhild inspection was launched in early 2015 after Municipal Affairs received a petition from county residents. The scope of an inspection, as set out in section 571 of the Municipal Government Act, can include any matter connected with the management, administration or operation of the municipality or any assessment prepared under Part 9 (Property Assessment).The work was done by an independent consultant with significant experience in this field.

The inspector found substantial evidence of irregular, improper and improvident actions on the part of Thorhild County council. As a result, the Minister issued a series of directives in September 2015, requiring council to make various corrections and adopt good governance practices.

Council has made progress to date in implementing those directives, but certain councillors opposed council’s efforts to achieve compliance. As a result, three councillors have been dismissed from council.

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