Ritchot mayor says name-calling, belligerent behaviour on council reason for resignation

Ritchot mayor says name-calling, beligerent behaviour on council reason for resignation

The mayor of Rural Municipality of Ritchot has abruptly resigned along with two councillors.

Mayor Jackie Hunt, Coun. Jeannot Robert and Coun. Ron Mamchuk handed in their resignations on Friday, said CAO Mitch Duval,

Hunt released a public statement Tuesday citing numerous problems within council that she said prevented it from functioning.

"When a council cannot function as a group, and when mediation does not work, and when name-calling and belligerent behaviour become the norm, it is time to re-evaluate your spot at the table," Hunt said in her statement. "The decision to walk away was heartbreaking."

Hunt has held her seat since October of 2014. She hopes the decision to step down will start a conversation at the municipal and provincial levels about how to better protect residents who step up to serve in public office.

"If I stayed and did nothing, then I became complicit and accepting of the behaviour," said Hunt.

"We are trying to encourage people to run for public office and we need to ensure they are protected from bullying and inappropriate behaviour while serving their communities."

Province says by-election will be called soon

Hunt said she would make no further comment apart from her statement. 

A spokesperson with the province said the government is aware of the situation.

Under the Municipal Act, if a council does not have enough members to meet quorum, the province may appoint an administrator.

That person would have authority to make decisions on behalf of council until new members are elected.

The province is working on appointing an administrator to ensure that day-to-day operations of the municipality continue.

A by-election will be called as soon as possible.

Ritchot's scheduled Tuesday meeting has been cancelled.