by Tristan Turner
2018 Morinville News advertising contract approved by council
Council has unanimously approved 2018’s Morinville News advertising contract between the town and this news website.
The contract requires review and approval from Council under the Municipal Governance Act (MGA) because Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe is the owner of the local news organization. The value of the contract this year is $9,000, a $14,520 reduction from 2017’s contract, reflecting Morinville News’ cessation of publishing a physical edition, thus reducing advertising costs.
Both Deputy Mayor Dafoe and Mayor Barry Turner recused themselves from the discussion and vote, with Dafoe declaring an obvious pecuniary interest, while Turner declared an interest out of his son (the author of this piece) being employed by Morinville News.
The motion passed rapidly with limited comments from Council, excluding a comment from Councillor Nicole Boutestein, who asked Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Isbister to consider providing council with information on the Town’s advertising contracts with other advertisers, “to get a complete picture.”
Isbister said it is likely he could prepare a report on that information to Council at a future meeting, though he will have to be certain that it is appropriate for him to release that information in accordance with freedom of information laws.
After one other brief question clarifying the reduction from Councillor Hall, the motion passed unanimously.
New council remuneration policy changes come a year after the last revisions
Morinville has a new policy for compensating councillors after unanimous approval from Council. Revisions to the policy were presented by Trish Pretzlaw, Morinville’s Human Resources Manager, who was on hand to respond to council questions during there deliberations. The policy was presented to Council in December but was postponed and brought forward again during the Jan. 9 meeting to clarify some items and set new limits, among other changes.
Council set up a committee to review Council compensation and passed a new policy in October of 2016, so these changes are coming after only a little over a year since the last changes to the policy.
These new changes include clarification on deductions for councillors who miss scheduled meetings, including strategic planning, budget, and meetings that council has notice for. Also included is a change to per diems to include a $300 per diem for meetings that exceed eight hours and are outside of the duties included in Council’s base honorarium. The new rate does not apply to conferences, which will remain at a maximum $200 per day per diem.
Pretzlaw also clarified that evening after questions from Council in December that travel time to an event is included in per diem rates.