Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's happening with your new council.

Again I would like to thank all those people that supported me through the election. Can't believe it as been three weeks since the election already.

Just an update on what as happened so far some issues we have talked about previously and some new one's. On Oct 29th we were sworn in to office and we divided up the committee's, not everybody got everything they wanted but I think council did a fairly good job of splitting up the work load and we all agreed that if somewhere down the road members of council wish to move around we would look at that.
At the meeting of the 29th I also made a motion for administration to bring back information for council on the following questions:

1. Provide Council with the complete MCNP budget. Including all GL accounts, and including Municipal Reserves.
2.         2. Provide Council with all Administration employment contracts along with their job descriptions for each and evaluations for the last two years.
3. Provide Council with all CUPE job descriptions.
4. Provide Council with an update on all outstanding CUPE grievances.
5. Provide Council with a list of all ongoing litigation and legal issues currently facing the Municipality and all legal advice, if any, which was provided to the municipality on these subjects.
6.         6. Provide Council with an update on the Wolfstone development and RV Park project, including any legal opinions and possible solutions.
7.         7. Provide Council with an update on the Provincial Flood Recovery Program and what monies have been received and how they have been dispersed.     

At that point administration asked to have until the Nov 19 meeting to bring forth this information which council was fine with, recognizing this is a substantial amount of information. So I look forward to seeing the answers next week.  
            Now to the meeting of November 5, some highlights for me: (you can access council packages and minutes at the following address)

            Financial Update: 
            I was very surprised to see that almost $1.3 million is owed in back taxes, we were told that the high penalties on arrears would solve this problem.
            We have a lot of money in the bank most of which is grant money that as not been spent because most of our capital budget have not been completed (Out of a projected $6.2 million, just under $1 million was completed as of Oct 30,2013.
            Was surprised to see that our latest study (Recreation Feasibility) is costing us $90,000.
            Also $96,000 as already been spent on the Entrance signs. I am looking forward to receiving a lot more financial information over the next few months. 

           Next big item on the agenda was the hiring of an HR Administrator: It is no secret that the labor relations at the municipality are the worse they have ever been, and I believe this council fully understands the importance of fixing this situation. For years the municipality had good relations with CUPE. So on Nov 5 we are asked to fix the legacy issue of poor labor relations by the CAO by approving the filling of this position. Council had a number of concerns first of all the size of our administration was an issue both prior and during the election. (Just as the meeting started we were introduced to our new Director of Protective and Community Services). We must keep in mind that the organization chart for the municipality was the previous council's chart based on their priorities and desires not this council's. Second council was concerned as to how we were going to pay for this position, administration told us there was money in the budget to cover the position until the end of the year. What happens in 2014? the response was we will find the money in the budget, who hires somebody in November and then figures out how you pay for them later? Last issue administrations position was that a big part of the reason this position was justified was due to the recent Workplace Assessment that was jointly conducted by management and CUPE, council was not supplied with the original copy of this report.
            Update on the Disaster Recovery program we have received $1.8 million so far from the province our Public Works Dept and Engineering firm have determined that the cost of fixing all the eligible damage is around $4.3 million. They explained the process of bureaucratic red tape that the municipality as to go through, the Mayor explained that he as met other communities leaders where work as already begun and we are sitting in a position of not seeing anything done until the spring. We anticipate that administration will be updating us on a regular basis on this very important issue.
           Council meeting schedules, it was agreed that council meeting will be held the first and third Tuesday of each month, with the G+P being held on the second Tuesday of each month all meeting starting at 7pm.

           Very important issue of note the SSRP (South Saskatchewan Regional Plan) if you are interested there is an open house in Pincher Creek on Nov 26 from 4:30 to 7:30 at the community hall, plus you can access the plan and provide input right up to Jan 15 at the following address.

            Finally we as council were informed by Mr Myron Thompson during the In Camera portion of our meeting that he would be retiring from his position as CAO with his last day of work being Dec 20th, with his vacation and time off owed he will paid by the municipality until Feb 5th. 

           This announcement though surprising will allow both parties to pursue other options moving forward. 

          Finally I appreciate the encouragement and the positive attitude being shown to me by the public almost every where I go. There are a lot of questions being asked by both the public and council, there is a lot of information gathering on the part of your new council. Let's keep in mind that six members of this new council have never sat on a council previously. Personally I am very hopeful I think the public made some very good choices, I think we have a group of people that are very intelligent, respectful of the community and will work very well together. Will we all be on the same page all the time? not a chance, on Nov 5 we did not finish the public part of the meeting until 10pm. It's been a long time since I have seen that, lot's of good healthy debate. 



Anonymous said...

Why is Council asking for Administration job evaluations? Does Council want to get involved in hiring/firing administrators? I think this undermines the CAO's authority and responsibility.

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

Keep in mind that the organizational chart was developed by the previous council based on their priorities. This council just like any new council as to determine it's priorities and directions and the structure it needs to accomplish their goals.

Anonymous said...

Each council can't go changing the way the administration is organised. Why do you think we go thru so many CAOs. Stick to developing policy and let adminstration run things day to day!

Crowsnest Pass Home said...


So if a new council feels that mistakes were made by a previous council in the structure of the administration or any other area for that matter, they should just live with that for the next four years?
The great number of CAO's as become a bit of an exaggeration. Yes they had three people sit in that position over the last three years. Prior to that CAO Lundy was in place from early 2004 until he retired in mid 2010 a period of relative stability.

Anonymous said...

From your own blog, previously.
At the Fire/Rescue Master plan yesterday administration made a comment about us going through 13 CAO's in 15 years.

I could sure use some help from my readers, that number does not make sense to me, so please fill in the gaps if you can.


March 2004 to Oct 2010 Gord Lundy

Oct 2010 to July 2011 Tully Clifford

July 2011 to June 2012 Kevin Robins

June 2012 to Present Myron Thompson

Did we really have 9 CAO's from 1998 to 2003? one every 6 months.

Anonymous said...

Cannot remember the years but there was Bevin Keith, Doug Topinka, Ron McCulloch

Anonymous said...

I would also like to know what kind of deal CNP has with Group Vachon. Is he entitled to a commission or some sort of "piece of the action"? How exactly did he become the "official applicant"? What is the involvement of the Penrose Group? Is Administration authorised to engage in secret wheeling and dealing with developers and investors (without publicly advertising the availability of the site)?

The Inspection said:
78.The Municipality provides a clear explanation (excluding information protected by FOIPP), over and above Council meeting notes, to residents of the events and timeline leading to the cancellation of the contract with Medican and the intended next steps to continue to demolish the old hospital and develop the land.
"Action List":
Municipal Newsletter will be utilized to communicate the processes and activities to date and development plans for the parcel as development moves forward.
Expected Completion November 15th, 2013

79.The Municipality provides regular updates to residents on the project and its anticipated completion.
"Action List":
recommendations will be implemented.

Anonymous said...

Dean, How much of that 1.3 million in back taxes owed is from Bridgecreek? If they had 400 lots at River run at 500/each that would be 200 thousand for 1 year only.
I am only guessing but it seems to me almost the whole amount could be from Bridgecreek.
Any news about Bridgecreek and the land reverting back to the CNP?

Anonymous said...

11:41 wrote:
"Any news about Bridgecreek and the land reverting back to the CNP?"

I asked the "open and transparent" Gallant about this. He replied:
"You were refused your FOIP request because the court documents had not been submitted at that time. You can go ahead and try to FOIP it again if you like."
(CNP didn't explain the reason for refusal, as required by the FOIP Act)

These documents will become public at the court hearing, and they are available to the dozens of owners and mortgage holders of the the RiverRun properties, so they are hardly confidential.

I think they actually become public as soon as they are filed with the court, but you need the "Docket information" to ask for them, which CNP refuses to disclose.

Terry Megli said...

Dean, I feel that with the circumstances you all faced upon your arrival on council must be very trying at best. For people to be questioning your progress already is extremely unfair. Maybe they should realize it is much harder to repair damages than to cause them. Remind those people it took the old council 3 years for their part in the devistation. Just so you know, I have all the confidence in the world that you and the rest of our council have nothing but our best interest at heart. Take your time and do it right and good luck to you all.