Rocky View councillors heading back to court over thousands in wages

·2 min read
Councillors Crystal Kissel, Kevin Hanson and Samanntha Wright said they felt vindicated after a Calgary judge set aside sanctions against them last summer. Now they're heading back to court seeking lost wages. (Screenshot of the councillors' FundRazr page - image credit)
Councillors Crystal Kissel, Kevin Hanson and Samanntha Wright said they felt vindicated after a Calgary judge set aside sanctions against them last summer. Now they're heading back to court seeking lost wages. (Screenshot of the councillors' FundRazr page - image credit)

Three Rocky View County councillors are going back to court over tens of thousands in wages they say they are each owed after sanctions imposed by their colleagues were set aside last summer.

Councillors Crystal Kissel, Kevin Hanson and Samanntha Wright were sanctioned in June 2019 by their fellow council members for allegedly breaching the county's code of conduct when they shared confidential information with their lawyer and wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper that questioned the process for hiring Rocky View County Chief Administrative Officer Al Hoggan.

The sanctions included a 30 per cent pay cut, but in July 2020, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jim Eamon called the measures "irrational" and "grossly disproportionate" to the councillors' actions. They were vacated by Eamon in a written order released July 16.

The councillors have since had their salaries reinstated, but are now arguing they should be reimbursed for the duration of the 13-month sanction for a total of about $30,000 each — which includes retroactive pay, loss of benefit amounts and denied council expenses, according to the civil claim.

"The sad part is, we probably could have put this to bed last fall," Hanson told CBC News.

"We're willing to work to the best we can together, for the benefit of Rocky View, and just keep moving forward, but unfortunately it's not the case."

Hanson told CBC News that a provincial court date has not yet been set for this matter.

According to a dispute note filed by Rocky View County, it believes the matter isn't justified and should be dismissed.

Alternatively, the county asked that the claim be stayed as it is in the process of appealing the judge's decision.

The county said it won't be commenting because the matter is before the courts.