Has Sturgeon County fired its CAO?

Editor’s Note: County Commissioner Chris Micek is still Sturgeon County CAO, according to administration. See our latest update here. 9:30 p.m. Oct. 26

By Stephen Dafoe

Sturgeon County – County Council returned from lunch Tuesday afternoon to read one notice of motion on landowner compensation and to immediately go in camera to deal with a matter added to the agenda Tuesday morning.

Council had added a personnel matter to the morning’s brief council agenda and went in camera to discuss it at 12:55, returning to public and media participation more than an hour later.

Few details emerged from council’s in camera discussion other than the revelation council had voted 4-3 to “proceed on a personnel matter consistent with legal advice and as discussed in camera.”

That decision, whatever it may have been, was opposed by Mayor Don Rigney and Councillors Don McGeachy and David Kluthe.

Possible firing?

Rumours have been circulating outside County offices for a couple weeks that County Commissioner Chris Micek had or was in the process of being fired. An attempt by MorinvilleNews.com to confirm the matter with Sturgeon County Communications Manager Calli Stromner was directed to Mayor Donald Rigney at the time. Rigney did not return the call.

Shortly after that attempt to confirm the rumours, Peter Tarnawsky, Sturgeon County’s Manager of Public Services, was dismissed from his position by Micek.

Tarnawsky was replaced within days by Troy Grant, who had previously been employed at CFB Edmonton, and who had worked closely with Sturgeon County in a number of projects, including last summer’s joint Sturgeon County / Edmonton Garrison Canada Day celebrations.

After Tarnawsky’s dismissal, a request for confirmation with the County’s communications department was directed to Commissioner Micek who declined to comment in detail on either Tarnawsky’s dismissal or Grant’s rapid hiring in his place. Micek would only say that as CAO it was in his prerogative to act quickly and hire as he saw fit.

Although it is not confirmed if Micek has been dismissed, sources who wished to remain anonymous have indicated Micek was escorted from Sturgeon County offices Tuesday afternoon. Those same sources indicate Tarnawsky may return to the helm as County Commissioner.

An attempt to confirm the reports through the County’s communication department resulted in no further information being gleaned. Stromner declined to comment on the matter, stating only that council had voted to proceed with a personnel matter consistent with legal advice and as discussed in camera.

If the reports are accurate, Micek’s dismissal will be the fourth municipal firing in the area in recent months. Legal fired its town manager, Cory Brown, in May of this year, and Morinville fired its CAO, Edie Doepker, in July. St. Albert followed with the firing of long-time CAO Bill Holtby earlier this month.

MorinvilleNews.com will continue to monitor the story and bring the details as they are made available.

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