Woodlands County Council held a special meeting on May 13th with the municipality’s legal counsel to discuss the Councillor Code of Conduct Bylaw in relation to a letter that was published in local newspapers by Councillor Ron Govenlock.
The letter was published in March and in it, Govenlock criticized Woodlands County’s upcoming budget and other monetary decisions, comparing their numbers to those of neighbouring Barrhead County.
In a press release issued on May 19th, the County says the views expressed in the letter do not reflect those of Council as a whole.
During the meeting, Govenlock was given an opportunity to respond prior to resolution. Council then established that the statements made in the letter fell short of the standards expected of Council members contrary to sections 3.3.1 (respecting the decision-making process) and 3.5.1 (respectful interaction with councillors, staff, public & other members of society) of the Council Code of Conduct Bylaw.
Mayor John Burrows says the conversations and decisions in this matter have not been taken lightly, and the resolution was jointly made by Council.
The Council Code of Conduct Bylaw states:
Section 3.3.1. All councillors shall:
a) foster respect for the democratic decision-making process;
b) work towards effective and consistent implementation of the positions and/or decisions of Council;
c) demonstrate fairness, accountability, and impartiality in all council matters; and
d) agree to respect and support the decisions and resolutions of Council.
Section 3.5.1. All councillors shall:
a) treat fellow councillors, administration/staff and the public with professionalism, respect, and courtesy;
b) demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity and honesty; and
c) communicate and work with fellow councillors in an open and honest manner promoting a spirit of cooperation by listening to and respecting those opinions that may differ.
To support the standards of Council, Councillor Govenlock’s appointment has been revoked from the below committees, effective May 19, 2020:
• Human Resources Committee
• Joint Liaison Committee
• Whitecourt Protective Services Committee
• Lac Ste. Anne Foundation, and
• Millar Western Public Advisory Committee (PAC)
He was also removed from his position as Chair of the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) but remains as a member of the MPC.
Councillor Govenlock has also been removed from the Deputy Mayor rotation.