Put up or shut up

The election of 2010 saw a bitter and divisive American style “GI Joe” negative attack campaign waged against the council of the day

Dear Editor:

The election of 2010 saw a bitter and divisive American style “GI Joe” negative attack campaign waged against the council of the day, of which I was a proud to have been a part of for nine years. Earl Giebelhaus wrote in a June 11 letter to the editor about the “serious misuse of public funds by members of the past council” and implied those on that council used “public funds being spent for personal gain, pleasure or political influence.”

Other than a personal issue with expenses which were attributed to possibly being in support of the Progressive Conservative party, there were never any expense irregularities that were legitimately challenged. The minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs said the issue of attending PC functions and how council was compensated was not a black and white issue; the minute it appeared there was a question of doubt, I stepped up and reimbursed the Town of Rimbey for $350. Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson and others of the Rimbey Ratepayers Association group made a promise they were going to audit the books and reveal all the abuses. No audit ever happened. I say to Giebelhaus and the RRA, regarding Dave Karroll and alleged wrongdoings, put up the evidence or shut up.

History of the RRA and their performance

For those who forgot about the Rimbey Ratepayers Association from last election, it was initially formed by Earl Giebelhaus, Joe Anglin, Sheldon Ibbotson and Gayle Rondeel, as a platform to fight against the council of that day. As it turned out, those who run for public office weren’t allowed to be on the board of that type of association and run for office. So Anglin, Ibbotson and Rondeel resigned and ran for office.

Giebelhaus said June 11 the RRA has been “watching and waiting.” What a joke, watching and not acting on behalf of Rimbey taxpayers as the council of the day hung up a “Closed for Business” sign and rescinded the tax incentive grant program that had attracted huge investment to Rimbey. Then they watched and stood on the sidelines as this council attempted to give away the town office for $1. They also stood on the sidelines as council sold off our ambulance service, worth an estimated $1 million for a fire sale price of less than $500,000. Watched and didn’t stand up and fight when council rejected a petition signed by over 450 voters on the town office issue, based on as the town’s lawyers put it an “unclear question.” They have been watching as council has been frittering away our tax dollars, and watched as our population shrunk by 100 people since this council took office and watched businesses close.

There was a challenge launched to the minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs on the potential breaches of the MGA by this council on the Eastview Garden issues. Council spent thousands of dollars of tax resources without a resolution of council and without a specific budget item. It is technically illegal for them to have done that. They then all voted on an item they potentially had a pecuniary interest in and could be subject to disqualification. I suggested to administration and council they voluntarily invite the minister in to investigate the situation. They declined. Coun. Rondeel, who was responsible for this fiasco, reported in the Rimbey Review April 16 she had ordered town equipment into action, that is also against the MGA 201(2) where a council (councillor) must not exercise a power or function…..assigned to the CAO, and she could be made to reimburse the taxpayers for the costs associated with that project. Those costs have probably exceeded $5,000. The act also says she must resign if found guilty. I tried to question public works staff about the situation and they have been muzzled. I also asked the same question of a town councillor and was refused an answer. The minister’s office indicated it was a situation that could be brought to light in the process of an election and let you the voters decide.

My criticism in the paper and publically in meetings has always been about this council’s decisions. I have never personally attacked any of these individuals as human beings. There is a serious issue that is unfolding, what appears to be a breach of my rights to privacy, and a public accusation of potential criminal activity on my behalf when Coun. Rondeel, attacked me personally when she announced at the public town garden meeting on April 4 in front of about 40 witnesses that “your emails had been sent to the RCMP.” Did I do something criminal, or was I the subject of a town-sponsored investigation? Mayor Ibbotson presided over the meeting. When I asked him if I was being charged with anything said. “No but your messages are vitriolic and offensive.” I have launched a complaint with the Alberta Privacy Commissioner. I never sent any messages to either Rondeel and or Ibbotson, it appears they were in possession of third party documents sent to Ellis, Payson and Webb, those other councillors are also listed in the that complaint, along with Tony Goode. It was of interest that Scott Ellis, whom I had met for the first time the previous evening at the town budget meeting, used exactly the same phrase describing my emails that Ibbotson had used. He said, “Your messages are vitriolic and offensive.” I wonder if he or Ibbotson coined the phrase? Goode initially denied participation but when an email I sent to him personally on April 5 ended up in the RCMP complaint package filed April 4, he refused to answer how it got there.

If you want to read those “vitriolic and offensive” emails that were sent to the RCMP and for details on these issues and other major concerns with the current council, go to www.rimbeyelection2013.com.

Dave Karroll