The official administrator (OA) assigned to act as Village of Morrin council fixed some serious problems with the October council meetings, as they were revealed as “invalid” during discussion at the Dec. 16 regular council meeting.
Harold Johnsrude, who was acting as council in his first regular meeting, stated that two agenda items listed under Old Business, the Oct. 21, 2020 organizational meeting minutes and Oct. 21, 2020 regular meeting minutes, had to be addressed.
Readers should note that as the OA approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard Johnsrude has the authority to move and pass motions alone.
Johnsrude stated a councillor had resigned prior to the October meetings but then attended both meetings as a councillor and voted.
Since Coun . Melissa Wilton had in fact resigned Sept. 26, 2020 both those October meetings were conducted without quorum and all decisions at them were declared invalid.
Previously, the now former mayor, Howard Helton had not attended the October meetings stating “they were non-compliant according to the Municipal Government Act, Sec. 194 (1), and (5).
Former councillor M’Liss Edwards, at the time said they were compliant according to a letter received by the village’s lawyer, Harry Gough, that the councillor resignation could be withdrawn.
Johnsrude stated he met with village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner to review invalid decisions from the two October meetings and he decided a few things.
First, he decided that decisions made one year ago and that were intended to carry on in the future will stand as approved.
Then he stated certain decisions at the organizational meeting needed to be addressed because they're important to the operation of the village.
Hence, Johnsrude made and approved the following motions: Endeavour Accounting as the village’s official auditor, Gareth Thomas as the village peace officer, Old McDonalds Kennels as the animal control officer, Chinook Financial Services as village banking services and the Morrin Library Board members as presented to council.
The OA noted that Wild Rose Assessment Services had also been appointed to represent the village, but an existing 10 year contract had since been discovered, so their appointment was unnecessary.
Johnsrude also noted that because the October organizational meeting was ruled invalid, none of the boards or commission appointments actually occurred. Hence, he needed to appoint members to those boards and commissions.
Noting there were 12 boards and commissions, Johnsrude said he broke those down into two tiers, the first tier that was vital, and a second tier that’s less so.
He stated he decided to assign village CAO Plachner as board member to attend meetings of the first tier, including the seniors housing authority, the planning authority, the solid waste authority, FCSS and the water authority.
Plachner was also assigned to all other boards and commissions, but the tier two ones would have to request her presence.
Further, looking at the invalid October regular meeting, Johnsrude stated he had to fix a few issues.
First, he moved and passed a motion to approve the Marigold library system budget and also moved and passed a motion to grant $50,000 to the Friends of Morrin School for the new school project, which he incidentally stated he was very much in favour of and added it was good to see groups in the region supporting each other.
Johnsrude noted, however, that other council minutes on the agenda, including a regular council meeting Sept. 6 and special meetings Sept. 25 and Dec. 7, were valid and he both moved and passed motions to approve them.
It should be noted that the Dec. 7 special council meeting was Johnsrude's first council meeting in Morrin and it was held to appoint signing authorities for the village.
Johnsrude stated the remaining Morrin councillor M’Liss Edwards has been relieved of her responsibilities by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and henceforth does not have any authority as an elected councillor for the rest of the remaining term.
The next municipal election is scheduled for October 2021.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review