NIPAWIN – The Town of Nipawin has released the unredacted Code of Ethics Investigation report on former mayor, Rennie Harper, who resigned a year ago.  

The Town of Nipawin released a press release on June 26 stating, “Council is moving onward and upward after the release of the Code of Ethics investigation of former Nipawin Mayor Rennie Harper. The Code of Ethics investigation was initiated by Council after receiving a formal complaint regarding Ms. Harper’s behaviour toward Council and staff. Due to Ms. Harper’s decision to resign, she was no longer subject to municipal legislative authority, which was the rationale for not releasing this information to the public earlier.” 

The Town of Nipawin hired Bloom Centre for Municipal Education to complete the investigation, which included reviews, interviews, analysis, and summarizations compiled into a confidential Council report.  

“With Council’s values of maintaining transparency in its decisions with the community, Council has released a summary of the report to clarify any misleading communication circulating throughout the town, particularly regarding financial concerns, fraudulent activity, and theft.”, the press release stated, adding the investigation was solely focused on a behavioural complaint and found no indication of other forms of misconduct.   

The released unredacted version of the report can be found at https://www.vmcdn.ca/files/sasktoday/files/bloom-report-redacted-june-27-2024_redacted-as-per-the-decision-4.pdf

“As Council, we want to maintain our value of providing transparency of our work, including any internal investigations that focus on our Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is a standard all Councillors adhere to and maintain to provide excellence to our town through our behaviours and actions,” stated Mayor Marlon Zacharias. “With the investigation complete, the Council looks forward to upholding our high standards of excellence for our community. We’re really looking forward to the future of what we can offer our town.”  

“We believe in our people and in providing the best quality of service to our community, and by doing this, we need to maintain a positive work culture within Council and staff,” stated Nipawin CAO, Michele Sorensen. “By listening to concerns from Councillors and Administration, and by taking action toward addressing these concerns, we are creating a work culture that thrives, which only helps us bring better service to our residents.” 

The Town of Nipawin’s Council says it encourages residents to review the information to address any concerns they may have regarding why the investigation occurred. 

A summary of Code of Ethics Investigation Report reviewed which sections of the Code of Ethics bylaw were violated. It was found that Harper:  

• Contravened the Code of Ethics, especially regarding points of Respect, Transparency and Accountability, and Leadership and the Public Interest.  

• Contravened the Code of Ethics in Objectivity and Confidentiality 

Ms. Harper was given the opportunity to respond to these allegations, which was declined, the report stated.  

Following Nipawin’s Code of Ethics bylaw, it was recommended that Ms. Harper:  

• Make a public apology, either written and/or verbal, to Council, staff, and the public.  

• Complete training on ethics, respectful conduct, and conflict management.  

• Be removed from all Council Committees for six months.  

• Receive a public reprimand.  

• Receive a 50% reduction in pay for six months.  

• Have her office moved from the Administration area to another part of the building so she cannot come to the office to interact with Administration staff. 

By Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 03, 2024 at 11:23

This item reprinted with permission from   SaskToday.ca   Saskatchewan

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