County of Paintearth receives Municipal Accountability Review from Municipal Affairs

Sixteen legislative gaps identified

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

The County of Paintearth has received some positive news in the wake of their Municipal Accountability Review, which was conducted by Alberta Municipal Affairs in August.

The Municipality Accountability Review looks at various areas of legislative requirements that are required under the Municipal Government Act.

All municipalities under a population of 5,000 are required to undergo the review at some point in a four-year cycle.

The County of Paintearth was notified early in 2019 that they had been randomly selected to undergo the review during 2019 and received their results from Municipal Affairs earlier in October.

“The County of Paintearth is commended for their cooperation and their assistance throughout the review,” read a paragraph in the executive summary of the document.

“As well as the time commitment during the site visit, municipal staff promptly responded to questions and provided documentation as requested.”

The review document highlights 19 separate areas identified as strengths in the County’s current processes. Items highlighted as strengths in the County review included public presence at meetings, council meeting minutes, operating and capital budgets, and tax recovery.

In the review, 16 legislative gaps were also identified.

Gaps identified include improperly voting on motions, missing legislation surrounding the bylaw enforcement officer, improper documentation of pecuniary interest when council members recuse themselves, and incomplete salary and benefits disclosure for identified officers.

Most of the fixes required with the legislative gaps will require either amending or repeal-and-replacing existing bylaws.

“We don’t see anything glaring in what they’ve pointed out,” said County of Paintearth CAO Michael Simpson.

County administration and council have already responded to Municipal Affairs outlining their plan to correct the legislative gaps and will have one year from the receipt of the report to correct all 16 gaps.

On a proactive move, the County has already begun the process.

During the Nov. 5th meeting, council passed a resolution naming CAO Michael Simpson to his position, correcting one such gap, and another gap in the procedural bylaw was corrected during the Nov. 20th council meeting.

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