Red Deer council security under review

Angry resident storms council chambers

A brief disturbance at city council’s regular meeting on Monday that involved a man who was angry about his taxes will be reviewed as to whether security at council chambers needs reassessment.

Shortly after Mayor Tara Veer called the meeting to order at 6 p.m., a man standing near the chamber door started shouting about his taxes. Veer firmly interrupted the man telling him that he was out of order a few times, which prevented him from saying much more before he left an envelope near one of the councillors and walked out of the chamber followed by City manager Craig Curtis and Coun. Buck Buchanan.

“I think the reaction of most people in attendance was we were taken aback, sort of surprised,” said Frieda McDougall, Legislative Services manager, on Thursday.

“I think it was really viewed as a disruption. But what it did do was allow us to take a look at was this a security issue.”

She said no security decisions have been made yet, for example having a security guard at the council chambers.

People who attend city council meetings do pass by a security guard on the main floor of City Hall. After regular work hours, City Hall is locked and security must open the door for people.

“Every now and again the city will have experience with citizens who are disgruntled over services or whatever. Certainly we experience it at a variety of departments, but it’s never occurred at a council meeting before.”

She said anytime there is a disgruntled person or issue a debriefing is held to analyze what happened and look at ways to be proactive and mitigate the situation if it was to happen again.

“It’s a really standard practice of the city.”

McDougall said the city will follow up on the tax issue that the man brought forward.

“We have a lot of processes where people can come and talk about their issues and concerns. This obviously is not the process we’d recommend,” she said about his outburst.

“I think what we have to try and assess now is have there been remedies or alternate processes made available to this person.”