Wheatland County Division 7 Councillor Rick Laursen is required to undergo Code of Conduct training after Wheatland County council upheld a complaint against him during the regular Tuesday, June 6 council meeting.

 Council hired an independent investigation team to conduct an investigation into the complaint against Councillor Laursen in November 2022; although the complaint against Councillor Laursen was discussed during a closed, in-camera session of the meeting, he revealed the nature of the complaint during the June 2023 meeting when he requested to have the investigative report brought forward into the open portion of the meeting.

 “This matter is about me, and I believe I have that right (to have it discussed during the public portion of the meeting). There is nothing that can come out of this that I would be uncomfortable with the public, and, or Municipal Affairs aware of,” Councillor Laursen stated.

 According to Councillor Laursen’s opening statement, the complaint lodged against him in November 2022 was in regards to his attendance at a Wheatland Regional Partnership meeting. 

 However, Councillor Laursen stated his attendance was as a ratepayer, and not as a county councillor, and during this meeting he had “no voice, or vote,” and that this is “reflected in the minutes” of the meeting.

 Despite Councillor Laursen’s request to move discussions stemming from the investigation into open, public discussion, the motion was defeated and the report remained in closed session.

 Following the closed session, council upheld the complaint against Councillor Laursen and directed that Councillor Laursen be required to attend a Code of Conduct training session. Earlier in the meeting, council had scheduled a Code of Conduct session for all council members following the June 20 council meeting. 

 Provided Councillor Laursen undergoes this Code of Conduct training, he will not be subject to any further sanctions.

 Council also directed administration to request clarification from Municipal Affairs regarding requirements of a municipal investigator due to challenging of the investigators credentials during this investigation to ensure clarity in the event of future complaints.

By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, DrumhellerMail.com

Original Published on Jun 21, 2023 at 06:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Drumheller Mail   Drumheller, Alberta
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