Councillor Rejects Arena Deal – Faces Sanctions
StansteadMunicipal Councillor, Wayne Stratton, was declared by many as the evening’s hero at Monday night’s Town Council meeting. To the surprise of those in attendance, the town not only passed their budget, but also pushed through a municipal donation totalling $25,000 to be paid out over five years for the benefit of the Pat Burns Arena. The common complaint voiced was dissatisfaction with council’s lack of transparency when putting together the deal. It was essentially kept secret from the public until council members had privately come to an agreement on the details. The public was made aware at Monday’s council meeting when the council voted and passed the resolution. The vote was unanimous except for the sole vote of Stratton and there was effectively no public discussion
Citing difficulties with the council’s lack of public consultation and broken promise not to use a penny of tax payers’ money to fund the Arena, Stratton said he could not vote for the deal in good conscience. Despite having sound reasons for his declining the deal, some council members reacted defensively to his statements, asking him to further justify his decision to accept the budget while rejecting the donation that was already incorporated into the budget. He was asked to defend his reasons several times to a few of his fellow councillors. In what appeared to be a pre-planned move on the part of the Mayor, Dutil was waiting to ask Stratton questions regarding his having discussed the deal with a party outside council prior to the public meeting announcing the deal. When Stratton admitted he had in fact discussed the deal with a member of a hockey organization, Dutil quickly asked the Town Clerk to document for the record Stratton’s admission and then announced Stratton would be facing sanctions for breach of confidentiality.