Councillor lets name stand for fall election

A town councilor who has served one term on council and plans to throw his hat into the political ring again is well within his rights

Coun. Paul Payson

Coun. Paul Payson

A town councilor who has served one term on council and plans to throw his hat into the political ring again is well within his rights to also serve as a volunteer fireman, despite information to the contrary from Transitional Solutions.

Coun. Paul Payson was accused of conflict of interest three years ago because he is a volunteer firefighter and sits on council.

At her information session, Sept. 5, Dona Tona, senior corporate consultant and vice president operations of Transitional Solutions Inc. handed out booklets containing information for candidates in the upcoming municipal election.

The booklets states residents who are ineligible to run for an elected position on council include anyone who is a volunteer chief, officer or member of a fire, ambulance or emergency measures organization established by a local jurisdiction.

The information, which turned out to be false, sparked more research into the issue.

Trisha Anderson, public affairs officer with Alberta Municipal Affairs said the Local Authorities Election Act states that a person is not considered to be ineligible (as a councillor) if they hold any of those positions.

Melissa Beebe, Assistant CAO for Rimbey said council sought legal advice when the issue came up three years ago.

“We were given the go-ahead,” she said.

However, following the meeting with Tona, Beebe checked the Local Authorities Election Act to be sure Payson was within his legal rights. She said the Act confirms that he is.

Neither Paul Payson nor Donna Tona were available at press time to comment.