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Town’s legal fees top $60,000, mayor wants CAO and council to pay

rene gendre

Mayor Rene Gendre wants council and the town’s chief administrative officer to foot the bill for a law suit.
Gendre made the recommendation April 27 when CAO David Connauton reported the Town of Fort Macleod had spent more than $60,000 on a suit involving the mayor in Court of Queen’s Bench.
“You keep stating that it is the mayor’s law suit,” Gendre said to Connauton. “It is a legal issue brought on by the CAO and approved by council.”
“Therefore I recommend that CAO and council personally pay for their fees and not dump them on the residents and businesses of the town.”
When Connauton began to respond he was cut short by Gendre.
“Hold your tongue David,” Gendre said. “This is a not a CAO meeting, this is a council meeting. You don’t talk until you’re recognized by the chair.”
Connauton reminded Gendre that he was not running the meeting either.
Coun. Michael Dyck introduced a motion to accept Connauton’s report as information.
“I’m paying for my own fees,” Gendre said. “So should the CAO and council.”
Council voted in favour of Dyck’s motion.
Council last year became concerned with actions taken by Gendre without prior council approval.
Gendre was asked by council to follow established procedures, and later to sign a covenant outlining how council members are to conduct themselves.
Gendre expressed concern the covenant would have him refrain from any public or private criticism of adminstration; refer complaints about decisions of council or actions of administration to the chief administrative officer for action; and agree to policies that reflect the best interest of a majority of citizens.
Gendre refused to sign the covenant without council first seeking a legal opinion.
Council on June 23 voted to sanction Gendre, removing him as chairman of meetings.
Council on July 1 voted to remove Gendre from boards and committees to which he had been appointed after being elected mayor.
Council on July 14 voted to remove Gendre as spokesman for council.
Gendre on Dec. 18 filed an affidavit in Court of Queen’s Bench for a judicial review.
Justice K.D. Nixon heard arguments from lawyers acting for Gendre, but has yet to hear the Town of Fort Macleod’s response.