By Greg Price and Cole Parkinson
A resolution has come to fruition on complaints filed against three Municipal District of Taber councillors in accordance with the M.D. of Taber Council Code of Conduct Bylaw No. 1935.
Following an in-camera session at M.D. council’s meeting last Tuesday, and after examining the results of an investigation, it found councillors John Turcato, Brian Brewin and Tamara Miyanaga in breach of the Code of Conduct. The following censure was issued:
That Councillor Miyanaga be sanctioned for Council Code of Conduct Bylaw contraventions by requiring a letter of apology to the complainant, a letter of apology to Council, removal from Council appointed committees until March 1, 2020, and associated committee remuneration be reduced until March 1, 2020.
That Councillor Turcato be sanctioned for Council Code of Conduct Bylaw contraventions by requiring a letter of apology to the complainant, a letter of apology to Council, removal from Council appointed committees until the MD of Taber 2020 Organizational meeting, and associated committee remuneration be reduced until the 2020 Organizational meeting.
That Councillor Brewin be sanctioned for Council Code of Conduct Bylaw contraventions by requiring a letter of apology to the complainant, a letter of apology to Council, removal from Council appointed committees until the MD of Taber 2020 Organizational meeting, and associated committee remuneration be reduced until the 2020 Organizational meeting.
Back in late August, M.D. council passed a resolution at the conclusion of an in-camera (closed) session, to appoint Shari-Anne Doolaege of SAGE Analytics Inc. to investigate and report on complaints filed against the three councillors, at a rate of $5,000 (plus costs) per complaint.
“The investigator found that some, but not all the allegations had merit,” said Merrill Harris, reeve for the M.D. of Taber, in response to inquiries from the Vauxhall Advance into the resolutions by council. “As this was a personnel matter, and in the interest of protecting the personal privacy of the complainant and individuals who participated in the investigation, we will not be providing any further details on the complaint or the investigation. What I can say is the Municipal District of Taber is committed to providing a respectful workplace and council takes its obligations under the Council Code of Conduct Bylaw seriously.”
The findings come on the heels of former CAO Derrick Krizsan abruptly resigning from his post effective Aug. 23 after receiving a 4.45 out of five on a 2018 Performance Review and Evaluation, which the Advance acquired.
It had 14 points of criteria to give ratings of one to five, with the final score being averaged out.
Dating back to 2007, performance review scores were as follows, which varied with how high numbers could go (76.50/80), (76.50/80), (79/80), (178/200), (185/200), (191/200), (192/200), (195.5/200), (177.2/180), (178.6/180), (178/180).
Given the abrupt resignation, the Advance inquired in a Friday phone interview to Krizsan if the code of conduct censures levied by council last Tuesday against councillors Miyanaga, Turcato and Brewin were directly related to his resignation from his former CAO post, in which Krizsan replied ‘yes.’
“But, I look back in my many years of service to the residents of the M.D. of Taber and the people I had the honour of working with, with much fondness,” said Krizsan.
At the time with Krizsan’s latest performance review prior to his resignation, Reeve Harris had glowing comments about Krizsan which read ‘We also want you to know that we have complete confidence in your expertise and that of your staff to provide quality and timely advice to Council in guiding this municipality.’
‘We want you to stay at the helm and we as council are not looking to try to replace you, or any of your staff…’
While words were supportive of Krizsan, it seemed some clashing of personalities were bubbling to the surface given further comments in the review.
‘The past year has been a learning experience for all of us — you as CAO, the directors and staff, and us as Council. When there is a big turnover in council as there was in 2017, it is bound to be a learning curve for ALL of us. As is to be expected, there have been some bumps along the way to establishing a new rapport.’
‘However, we believe that modeling mutual respect is a cornerstone of good governance and operations, and we commit to building a culture where each individual is valued for the expertise and perspective they bring to their roles.’
Krizsan would also earn the Society of Local Government Manager’s Award of Excellence back in May before eventually accepting a position of CAO in Willow Creek after his resignation. Krizsan, a Barnwell resident, was the ag fieldman for six years before transitioning to his role of CAO with the M.D. of Taber for 13 years before his resignation.
Given the exact nature of the complaints filed involved personnel and are under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act as they were being discussed in in-camera sessions, the Advance inquired late last week to councillors Turcato, Brewin and Miyanga if they wished to issue a statement in which they gave the following joint response:
‘On Tuesday, November 5, 2019 M.D. of Taber council passed resolutions sanctioning Brian Brewin, Tamara Miyanaga and John Turcato, each for a Code Conduct contravention.
As the affected councillors, please be assured we will not allow the sanctions to restrict our ability to serve the citizens of the M.D. of Taber.
Our priorities remain a fiscally responsible M.D., with a continued focus on community safety, infrastructure and recreation. While ensuring the mill rate is competitive for economic develop and sustaining current agriculture and business. We will focus on community relationship building, within and around the M.D. of Taber.
We respect and appreciate the work of our volunteer Fire Departments in providing a high-quality emergency response. We appreciate the contributions of each volunteer and the dedication of their families who support them in their service. We are grateful for the countless recreation volunteer hours, which make the M.D. of Taber a great place to live.
While we are disappointed with the sanctions, our commitment to the M.D. of Taber will not waiver.’