By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
A municipal inspection report of the Town of Granum reveals the town has not been managed properly in the past, but provides a road map to running the town professionally, efficiently, and properly.
Doug Lagore, the inspector tasked with the job, presented his report on Aug. 29 at a special meeting of town council in the Granum School gym, filled with residents of Granum and surrounding area.
He explained town council requested a municipal inspection and the minister received a sufficient petition from the town electors requesting an inquiry into the affairs of the town, so the minister of municipal affairs directed the inspection be undertaken. The investigation concerned previous town officials.
Interviews were conducted in person and over the phone of elected officials, staff, and residents, and nearly 79 surveys were completed. Municipal records and processes were also evaluated.
“The results of the inspection indicate that the town is being managed in an irregular, improper and improvident manner,” Lagore said.
He reported there has been continual conflict between the former chief administrative officer and council, with both parties to blame. The CAO did not accept, understand or handle criticism well and typically responded with harsh memos to council or legal action, neither of which is appropriate. Council continually interfered in the administration of the town, to the point where municipal employees were resigning due to interference.
He also said the current mayor understands the problems the municipality is facing and is doing her best to turn the situation around, but does not have the support of all of council. He stated council needs to embrace they are a team and need to work together to bring some stability back to the Town of Granum. Once a decision is made, the decision needs to be supported by all of council.
Lagore divided the report into various sections, with recommendations for each.
Granum is governed by a five-member council who are elected then appoint a mayor from council. There have been five by elections since the last municipal election in October 2013, with all of the current council elected in by elections.
It was recommended to reduce the number of councillors to three, due to the high turnover and difficulty in getting candidates to run.
Conduct of council
A common theme was the lack of separation between the roles of elected officials and administration. Lagore noted it was clear from e-mails on file that some of the former mayors and CAO worked collaboratively to conceal some information from other members of council, which he said is improper. There were also allegations of some members of council bullying other members of council as well as staff and members of the public.
There was also no record of any council orientation following the last election.
It was recommended council refrain from performing administrative functions; retain external subject matter experts to undertake council orientation immediately following the 2017 municipal elections; undertake a self-assessment of their performance as an effective team and individually on a quarterly basis; prepare and maintain an action list on a regular basis for all direction from council; all direction to the CAO at a council meeting be done by formal resolution; and council engage a facilitator to provide training on governance and role separation.
By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer