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More than 800 Fort Macleod residents sign petition calling for inquiry into Mayor Rene Gendre’s conduct

Alberta Municipal Affairs will be asked for an inquiry into the conduct of Mayor Rene Gendre and the effect it is having on Fort Macleod.
More than 800 residents had signed the petition last week, surpassing the minimum 624 signatures that are required.
“I’m not surprised,” petition organizer Kristi Edwards said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think the community felt the same way I did.
“I’m overwhelmed we were able to reach our goal as quickly as we have — full of gratitude for our community.”
The petition was launched by a group of Fort Macleod residents in late January, shortly after the mayor filed an affidavit in Court of Queen’s Bench for a judicial review of the sanctions place on him by council last June
Town council sanctioned Gendre last June, stripping him of all responsibilities except attending meetings and voting on motions.
Provincially-appointed mediators began working with council, the mayor and administration last fall.
In December, Gendre filed the affidavit for a judicial ruling on the sanctions. The law suit has already cost the Town of Fort Macleod $18,404.20.
A petition was also started last fall calling for the firing of chief administrative officer David Connauton.
No action was taken on the petition when council agreed to hold a public meeting to provide information and allow residents to voice concerns.
The petition was started soon after that public meeting in January, when Gendre came under fire from a number of residents.
Most people responded warmly when provided the chance to sign the petition.
“An overwhelming majority want to do something, to take action to support town council,” Edwards said.
Edwards said the volunteers also encountered a few people who criticized the petition.
“They took it was a personal attack on the mayor, which is not at all what it is,” Edwards said. “I think that is a big misconception with people who don’t understand what it is we are trying to accomplish.”
Edwards explained the group leading the petition is merely seeking information.
“What happens after that is out of our hands,” Edwards said.
The group is optimistic the petition will convince Municipal Affairs that an inquiry is necessary.
“I don’t see how they couldn’t respond,” Edwards said. “I don’t see how they can ignore it.”
Volunteers will continue to take the petition door-to-door until it is mailed to Municipal Affairs Minister Diana McQueen the first week of March.
“We will continue canvassing the town before we send it on to provide everyone a chance to sign it,” Edwards said.
The petition is also at Sinkel Floral Design on Main Street.

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