Innisfail council rejects CAO inquiry

Citizen group pledges to continue to keep an eye on Innisfail council.

Mayor Brian Spiller

Innisfail town council has rejected a call for an inquiry into the conduct of the chief administrative officer.

An 11-strong group of citizens, concerned about the firing of a popular fire chief and other personnel issues, requested the town ask for a provincial inquiry into Helen Dietz last month.

Delegation representatives were back before council on Monday to hear council’s response and its answers to 14 questions put to council.

“After careful consideration, and following an in-depth review of internal policies and procedures, council will not be moving ahead with the delegation’s request,” says Mayor Brian Spiller in a statement released on Tuesday.

“From the concerns that were raised, the town will identify any areas of potential improvement, and consider changes as necessary.”

But an inquiry is “unwarranted,” says the mayor.

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Delegation member Jim Carroll said they got answers to most of their questions but not all.

The town cited privacy issues as the reason for not answering some questions. Some of those issues included why the former fire chief was let go and whether he had been subject to a performance review.

Carroll said overall the delegation’s concerns were addressed in a “bit better fashion. We’re still not completely satisfied.”

The delegation was pleased to hear that the town intends to hire a company specializing in municipal administration to handle the replacement for Dietz, who is retiring in the summer.

“It’s open and transparent, and that’s what we were looking for, is more transparency,” he said, adding the existing CAO will not be involved in picking her replacement.

Carroll said residents intend to keep a close eye on council and will be meeting as a group to discuss “where to go from here.

“We’re not just going away. We still want to keep them accountable.”

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