County Council tight lipped about consultant’s report

By Stephen Dafoe

Sturgeon County – County Council held an in camera session Mar. 13 with the governance consultant contracted to help steer them towards being a productive and functional government body. The outcome of that in camera session resulted in County Council voting unanimously in favour of accepting the consultant’s report as information; however, council did not disclose what was discussed behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon.

The hiring of consultant Chris Sheard of Fairman Holt Inc. was initiated by Councillor Karen Shaw who was troubled by an Oct. 11, 2011 MorinvilleNews.com editorial that branded County Council as dysfunctional. Decorum at a subsequent meeting prompted Shaw to put forward a motion to bring in professional help for council, cautioning anything short of unanimous consent would result in her taking the matter to Municipal Affairs. The vote to hire a consultant was made Jan. 10.

After voting to accept Sheard’s report as information, Sturgeon County Mayor Don Rigney said Council may decide to release some or a portion of what was discussed in camera Tuesday when they deem it appropriate. “Mr. Sheard set a very high ideal and outlined some significant steps for the future,” Rigney said before adjourning the meeting.

A letter from Fairman Holt Inc. was distributed to media at the end of the Mar. 13 meeting. In it Sheard indicates his company began the process Feb. 15 and concluded the interim report phase Mar. 13. Activities included one organizational meeting with Sturgeon County interim CAO Peter Tarnawsky, one introductory meeting with Council, individual meetings with Mayor Rigney and the six councillors, and a final meeting Mar. 13. It is at the latter meeting where the results of the work to date were delivered to Council.

The letter goes on to indicate Fairman Holt’s work is expected to conclude in June.

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