RM of Dufferin council convene rare special meeting

·3 min read

Notification of the meeting went out just over 24 hours before the meeting occurred Wednesday, just after 10:30 am.

Aside from Wes Hofer, who was absent, all of the council and Reeve Russ Kirzinger were present. Councillor Mike McGill attended from work over Zoom.

Before calling the meeting to order Reeve, Russ Kirzinger questioned if the process was followed to call a special meeting. He referred to a policy that said there were to be four written notifications, asking Chief Administrative Officer Tammy Knuttila if the RM had received those. She said, “In writing is by text.” The Reeve questioned if “text” qualified.

The Reeve then asked, “I’m wondering why I got removed from dropbox and who had the authority to do that or gave the authority to do that.”

Dropbox is a shared digital drive which the council and Administration use to share information.

CAO Knuttila said that they could discuss the matter in-camera once he called the meeting to order. The Reeve responded that he wasn’t convinced the discussion would all need to be done in camera and referenced a letter the RM received from “the lawyer” regarding an expenditure.

The Reeve then called the meeting to order and asked for a motion to discuss “the unauthorized expenditure in-camera,” which Councilor Kyle Sanderson made.

The Reeve then declared a conflict of interest, saying the discussion was related to him and left chambers.

Council was in-camera for some time before calling the Reeve back into the private discussion.

He left chambers again, saying goodbye to the gallery waiting outside. He directed the questions back to the council and Administration when asked why he was leaving.

The council remained in-camera for some time before returning the meeting to the public discussion. Council asked if the Reeve was still outside and was told no.

Before the meeting adjourned, Councillor Mike McGill motioned that the council would continue the in-camera discussion at Friday’s regular meeting at 8:30 am.

LMT asked Deputy Reeve Sheila Fishly if Council was removing the Reeve. She said they couldn’t comment as they weren’t finished with their discussion. She responded with no comment when asked how they thought the ratepayers would feel about the council removing an elected official.

Following the meeting, ratepayer Lorraine Promhouse who was in attendance, said she didn’t know what was going on, but the ratepayers elected the Reeve and that the ratepayers should have a say in the decision. She also questioned the decision to discuss the matter in private.

After the meeting, when asked about his removal from dropbox, the Reeve said he was temporarily removed the week before being put back onto the platform. He had no further comment on his understanding of his removal and directed our questions to Administration.

When asked if the council was trying to remove the Reeve, he said, “I don’t know.”

He also said he believed that he would be at Friday’s meeting.

Note: These reports are abridged for content

Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times