A County of Stettler councillor has demanded a retraction and apology from council in a conflict-of-interest controversy.
Ernie Gendre is angry with a news release issued by the county last week that accused him of being “careless, irresponsible and negligent” in his handling of a water line vote.
Council voted to censure Gendre, noting he knew or should have known that a family could benefit from a contract on which he voted.
The councillor called council’s findings that he had been contacted by a contractor to provide bids on the contentious water line project “absolutely false.”
A company owned by Gendre’s son was later sub-contracted to do work on the water line project that the father had voted on earlier.
Gendre claims in a letter he sent to council that he was “twice removed” from the contract. Any suggestion he had a pecuniary (financial) interest when he voted is “nothing more than a smear campaign,” he says.
He demanded that council retract the censure motion and issue a full public apology by the end of Tuesday.
County Reeve Wayne Nixon said council would not be taking any action by Gendre’s deadline, but will likely discuss his concerns at council’s first meeting in January.
Nixon said on Tuesday Gendre’s complaints about the censure motion “just clouds the issue.
“It’s a pretty simple issue when you get right down to it,” he added. “I just don’t understand exactly where the councillor is coming from on that.”
Council got legal advice and followed all of the appropriate steps before it passed the censure motion, he said.
The whole issue probably could have been settled sooner with an apology from Gendre, he said.
Gendre said he’s not planning to back down and will continue his fight next year.
“You bet. I’m going to keep this alive until election time,” he said, referring to the October municipal vote.
Gendre said he outlined his situation to Alberta Municipal Affairs last week and was told that based on his information there was no pecuniary interest involved and he could vote on the water line.