By Diego Syz
A tumultuous meeting of The R.M. Council of Maple Creek on Jan. 13, eventually turned into a full-blown political coup.
During a controversial and dramatic council session, the presiding Reeve, Howard Eiserman, declared he was going to take his leave from the meeting half an hour before it officially ended.
The R.C.M.P. are investigating theft, forgery, fraud and harassment in the R.M. of Maple Creek’s office – I am afraid that this office will not be able to function properly until these allegations are settled, Deputy Reeve Bill McKenzie continued.
That’s the third audit taking place at the R.M. of Maple Creek in the past year according to Reeve Eiserman.
Complaints of theft, forgery, fraud and harassment are all additional cases levelled at the R.M. and, in some instances, at Reeve Eiserman.
“To the best of my knowledge I have not harassed any employee,” begins Reeve Eiserman.
“I cannot comment on the allegation of harassment as there has been no documentation brought forth; I don’t even know what the allegation is about.”
“I am an elected official and it is illegal. I can only be removed from office by the Ratepayer’s or if I offer a resignation,” said Reeve Eiserman in a statement to the News-Times.
Reeve Eiserman called the financial audit of the R.M. and “unnecessary expense” to ratepayers indicating this is the third audit in a year and it is following two clean audits.
“Some Councillors with personal interests are taking matters into their own hands and not conducting themselves according to the “Code of Ethics” as a member of the Rural Municipal Council, the Municipal Act and Rural Municipality Policy,” stated Reeve Eiserman.
“There is a total lack of respect of Ratepayer’s money.”
Only minutes after his departure, council voted to remove his supervisory and signing powers and left deputy reeve Bill McKenzie in charge of council- in absentia.
“Holding this position means that in the reeve’s absence it is my responsibility to chair meetings and supervise our employees and try to help them solve any problems that might arise,” said deputy reeve Bill McKenzie.
“Removing the reeve’s supervisory and signing authority were done at the advisement of our lawyer as a safe-gaurd to protect the rights of our employees as well as the interests of our ratepayers,” Deputy Reeve McKenzie shot back on behalf of the rest of the council.
“Any major issues will be brought before council as they are supposed to have the ultimate authority on all R.M. matters,” he finished.
Meeting brief- R.M. Of Maple Creek
Special meeting: Wage top-up questioned.
The rural municipality council of Maple Creek called into question the additional top-up of an employee sick-leave wages by the R.M. Councillors called the move by the R.M. “very rare”
Staff Sergeant John Phipps told Council there were 132 calls for assistance over the third quarter, adding the complaints were mainly traffic-oriented and pointing out there were very few criminal complaints.
“Overall for our office it was a fairly quiet end of the year,” said Phipps.
The council called ito attention the impending investigation facing the R.M. Reasons for the audit were named (potentially) as: fraud, missing money, missing hard drives/personal/employee identity files, cheque’s issued without approval of Council and an instance where an individual was approved in an internship program while the R.M. approved another for the position.
It was at this point, Reeve Howard Eiserman excused himself from the meeting.
Transfer of power
Following the Reeve’s departure from the meeting, the remaining council voted and approved a motion to remove Reeve Eiserman’s supervisory and signing powers until the end of the R.C.M.P’s investigation. As Deputy Reeve, Bill McKenzie, will now fill the role of Reeve.