Athabasca County’s new council was sworn in during their organizational meeting Oct. 30, and council re-elected Doris Splane as the county’s reeve.
Splane retained her position as reeve after a secret ballot vote between herself and Coun. Warren Griffin. Coun. Kevin Haines nominated Splane for the position, and Coun. Travais Johnson nominated Griffin.
“Thank you very much, guys. I just want to say if there’s anything, come to me, talk to me. I have had a couple say things that I need to give more attention to the raised hands, and I’m going to do the best I can to improve on that,” Splane said after taking her seat at the head of the council table.
Griffin was nominated for deputy reeve by Coun. Larry Armfelt, and he won by default after nobody else was nominated.
The two leadership positions are one-year appointments, and are determined each October at Athabasca County council’s organizational meeting.
Splane said in an interview it is an honour and a privilege council has given her another chance to serve them.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed; I’m excited,” she said. “(I am) anticipating the next year and where we’re going with that.”
She added her expectations for the term include spending significant time working on Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks with neighbouring municipalities, as required under the modernized Municipal Government Act.
“That would be number one. From there, just working as a team,” she said. “I believe we have a real good mix of returning officers and new councillors, and looking forward to seeing each of them and their personal strengths and experiences and how we can pull that together.”
Splane opened up the discussion on settings council’s rate of remuneration at $267.33 per day plus the cost of inflation annually.
Johnson said he was confused about the wording of the rate of remuneration with respect to committee meetings.
“It says all council committee meetings to be paid at a full day rate. If you’re only half day, shouldn’t you only get half a day pay?” he said.
Splane chuckled, saying the remuneration discussion has been a vocal one amongst council.
Coun. Dennis Willcott said he likes the policy the way it is.
“I have a construction business besides council, but council comes first. All council is a full day; my day is screwed anyway no matter what. But I took the job,” he said. “Maybe you want to change it – I like the way it is. I like to get paid for what I do, but I like the system the way it works, and it works pretty good.”
Coun. Christine Bilsky said the issue is in the wording of the policy.
“I’m only here until noon, I don’t like writing a full day because I’m letting my conscience be my guide; I wasn’t here a full day and it just doesn’t look right.” She added the wording of the rate should be addressed in a policy meeting and it “needs to be fixed.”
Coun. Penny Stewart said coming in as a new councillor, she would like consistency to be applied in timesheets.
“Everybody’s conscience works differently, and I just want consistency,” she said. “I’m going to do what’s right and apply that to my time sheet.”
Splane said council remuneration is “all over the place” in the province, and she hoped the modernized Municipal Government Act would provide some guidance, “but no one seems to want to touch it, either.”
Haines made a motion to leave the remuneration policy alone for the day.
“I’d like to leave it alone for today, but we have been having this discussion for several years and haven’t been able to solve it,” he said. “We’ve got a new group; let’s see if we can solve it this time around. But I don’t think we’re going to solve it today.”
The motion was passed with Bilsky opposed.
Airport Committee: Bilsky, Johnson, Dwayne Rawson. Alternate: Haines
Alberta Co-ordinated Action For Recycling Enterprises: Bilsky. Alternate: Splane
Aspen Regional Water Services Commission: Haines, Rawson. Alternate: Johnson
Athabasca Area Inter-Municipal Planning Committee: Haines, Armfelt, Splane. Alternate: Griffin
Athabasca Chamber of Commerce: Willcott. Alternate: Rawson
Athabasca Landing Trail Steering Committee: Rawson, Willcott. Alternate: Griffin
Athabasca Physician Recruitment/ Retention Committee: Splane. Alternate: Willcott
Athabasca Regional Multiplex Society: Griffin, Armfelt, Johnson. Alternate: Willcott
Athabasca Regional Waste Management Commission: Haines, Stewart. Alternate: Bilsky
Athabasca Watershed Council: Armfelt. Alternate: Johnson
Baptiste and Island Lake Stewardship Committee: Armfelt. Alternate: Splane
Blue Heron Vocational Training Centre: Bilsky. Alternate: Griffin
Boyle Area Intermunicipal Development Committee: Splane, Griffin. Alternate: Stewart.
Boyle Community Advisory Committee: Splane, Johnson
Boyle Public Library Board: Splane. Alternate: Johnson
Northern Lake College Community Education Committee: Armfelt. Alternate: Willcott
Community Futures of Tawatinaw and Region Committee: Bilsky. Alternate: Rawson
Community Transportation: Willcott. Alternate: Armfelt.
County Library Board: Griffin, Johnson. Alternate: Stewart
County Recreation Board: Willcott, Stewart. Alternate: Bilsky
Family and Community Support Services: Rawson, Stewart. Alternate: Bilsky
Farm Women’s Conference and Awards Planning Committee: Splane, Stewart
Greater North Foundation: Splane. Alternate: Armfelt
Joint Recreation Committee (Village of Boyle and county): Stewart, Rawson. Alternate: Johnson
Long and Narrow Lakes Stewardship Society: Bilsky. Alternate: Armfelt
Northern Lights Library Board: Griffin. Alternate: Rawson
Tourism and Economic Development Committee: Stewart, Johnson, Rawson, Griffin. Alternate: Willcott
Town Library Committee: Griffin. Alternate: Rawson
Water North Coalition: Armfelt. Alternate: Haines.