Chestermere is under new management after this morning announcement from the Province of Alberta dismissing Mayor Jeff Colvin, Coun. Mel Foat, Coun. Blaine Funk, and Coun. Stephen Hanley, along with three Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs).
Ric McIver, Alberta's Minister of Municipal Affairs made the move after the city failed to comply with directives issued by former Minsiter of Municipal Affairs Rebecca Schulz since March 15, 2023, aimed at restoring good governance.
The directives, put in place following a municipal inspection, were intended to address irregularities and deficiencies in the city's management. Despite the minister emphasizing that these directives were not overly burdensome, the city continued to operate in an irregular, improper, and improvident manner.
Minister McIver expressed his disappointment, stating, "The directives issued by my predecessor are not onerous and represent the bare minimum that citizens ought to expect from their municipal government. However, after undertaking all reasonable efforts to have the city comply with its obligations, it has failed to do so.
I am profoundly disappointed that it has come to this, but the people of Chestermere deserve better. This community should be able to have trust in its local elected government," McIver added.
Minister McIver has appointed an official administrator and interim CAO to oversee the City of Chestermere's governance and operations until a byelection is held.
Interestingly, the minister determined that the dismissal of three council members—Coun. Shannon Dean, Coun. Sandy Johal-Watt, and Coun. Ritesh Narayan—was not justified. These councillors - according to the province - were recognized for their efforts to hold the council accountable and work towards a more positive direction for proper governance practices and compliance with legislation.
Although councillors Dean, Johal-Watt, and Narayan will retain their positions, they will have no role in the governance of the city until a byelection is held and council quorum is restored.
The ministerial order, effective December 4, signifies a crucial juncture for Chestermere, as an official administrator takes charge to guide the city through this period of transition until new councillors are elected in 2024.
This story is still developing*