Town council, peppered with questions by members of the Rimbey Ratepayers at its Monday meeting, continued to stand by its statements that all procedures followed are within the guidelines of the municipal government act.
In a letter to council, Jim Moore questioned council about the committee of the whole meetings, which he said have been in-camera in the past.
Mayor Rick Pankiw said committee of the whole meetings will be held in council chambers and are open to the public.
“As a new council we have reached out to our consultants and municipal affairs for direction in this matter as we were not comfortable meeting as a council on issues other than in-camera circumstances as prescribed by the MGA,” he said.
He said any committee of the whole meetings that were held in-camera previously were conducted in that manner on the advice of the town’s former administration.
While Coun. Paul Payson did not confirm that committee of the whole meetings were not open to the public when the previous council was in place he said “there was never anybody there.”
Moore also questioned an unprecedented use of secret ballots occurring during a vote in a recent regular council meeting. He also wanted to know what the protocol used for deciding not to have a council meeting held at the regular two week interval was.
Holding three readings at the same meeting is another issue that needs to be explained, he said.
Mayor Pankiw said council was adhering to the MGA in these issues, but Moore said council needed to be more up-front and not hide behind the legislation.
“The community needs to have a chance to know what’s going on,” he said. “The MGA is specific in some things and vague in others. Common sense needs to prevail.”
The sudden termination of Melissa Beebe, the town’s acting CAO was also questioned.
Florence Stemo said she couldn’t understand the justification behind the dismissal of such a dedicated, competent employee.
“She only had six to eight weeks to go (before the new CAO came on board),” she said.
“How much is this going to cost the taxpayers?” Moore questioned.
Mayor Pankiw said council is bound to the confidentially statements in the termination agreement with Beebe and could not respond to questions.
“We get elected to make decisions,” said Payson. “Tough decisions; but decisions that we think are best for the Town of Rimbey.
“Town council wishes Melissa all the success in her new position as CAO for the Town of Caroline,” added Pankiw.