Acme Inspection Report offers remedy to council
Municipal Affairs report makes 17 solutions
Mayor of Acme said a report from Municipal Affairs is a document that the village can use to make improvements.
Last week the village received a Municipal Inspection Report that was ordered in January 2015.
“To us, it has vindicated some of the things we have been doing, and it also highlighted that we made a couple mistakes and we are well on the process of cleaning those things up,” said Mayor Bruce McLeod. “They recognize that in the report, so that is a good thing.”
The path to the Municipal Inspection was long and winding, with issues that originated from irregularities in the 2013 election process. Some residents legally challenged the election, and while there were irregularities, the court maintained the election was valid.
A group of residents also challenged a tax recovery sale in June of 2014.
As well, in June of 2014, a petition opposing the rezoning a parcel of land known as the Tire Park was presented to council. The council deemed the petition as insufficient, and went ahead and rezoned the parcel of land. The opposing petitioners sent the petition and their letter of concerns to Municipal Affairs.
In September of 2014, a second petition asking the Minister to “order an inquiry into the affairs of the municipality and the conduct of the CAO, administration and Mayor and Council in relation to the refusal of Council to listen to electors, pecuniary interest of councillors, treatment of residents by staff, confidentiality, minutes of meetings, and other deficiencies in the management of the municipality.”
While this petition did not meet the requirements, the minister requested that staff conduct a prelimi-
nary review. Based on this review, council was informed an inspection was warranted.
The findings were presented at an open house on Thursday, January 28.
From the inspection, there were 17 recommendations. They range from improving communications with the community, to skill development for staff, to following existing procedures and reviewing bylaws and decisions.
“When I did a quick review of the document after the meeting, I would suggest we have done well over half of the recommendations,” said McLeod. “These are things we have to respond to the Minister on how we are doing on this. On a couple, we are going to need time, but we will get done.”
The report cites issues with staffing, in particular, the turnover of CAOs.
“Since 2009 the Village administration has been led by several Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs). This high administrative leadership turnover, together with intermittent periods when the Assistant CAO served as Interim CAO, has had a cumulative and debilitating effect on the entire organization and community,” it states.
Mayor McLeod also acknowledges this was an issue. “I am not blaming administration. We have been through a number of CAOs. We have been floundering a little bit but we are getting there, and I think they recognize this.”
The report can be found at www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/documents/ms/Acme_In-spection_Report_Final.pdf