County of Stettler cleared of breaking election laws

An Elections Alberta investigation has cleared the County of Stettler of breaking election laws.

An Elections Alberta investigation has cleared the County of Stettler of breaking election laws.

The Wildrose Party alleged last fall that several years ago a county employee posted election signs for then-Progressive Conservative MLA Jack Hayden while on shift for the municipality. Another employee was accused of promoting Hayden’s Facebook page while at work.

The county says a report prepared by Elections Alberta Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler says there was no evidence that the county made any “valued contributions” to Hayden’s campaign by using electronic communications, staff time or county vehicles.

Elections Alberta’s website notes that the accusation that the allegation that the county violated the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act was “unfounded.”

An internal review by the county last fall also found no evidence that staff had been involved in Hayden’s campaign while at work.

However, the review that went back almost a decade found county politicians and staffers had improperly been reimbursed for attending Tory party events to the tune of $6,540. All of the payments dated prior to 2010.

Hayden lost the 2012 election to Wildrose candidate Rick Strankman.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Reeve Wayne Nixon says the county feels the electoral officer’s investigation supports the county’s own findings.

“We knew what the findings were going to be before they started,” he said. “But it’s nice to have it for the public to see too as far as that goes.

“We’re certainly happy to have Elections Alberta clear all the accusations.”

Nixon said he wanted to take the high road and not comment further on the Wildrose allegations.

He previously called the party’s accusations a “witch hunt.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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