City of Chestermere Chief Administrative Officer Kim Wallace is scheduled to appear in Strathmore court on July 17 following her not guilty plea to allegations of assault against a staff member.
Wallace was reported to have exited Chestermere city hall with RCMP officers, Feb. 1, and was later released from custody with instruction to appear in provincial court, March 3.
The charges stem from an incident which is alleged to have occurred Jan. 26 at Chestermere city hall, during which Wallace is accused of striking another employee during a loud verbal disagreement.
Wallace cited the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in a written statement, referencing she should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“For those in our community, who have pre-judged me without knowing any of the facts, I remind them of what it means to be Canadian, to live in a country where we value our freedom and our rights,” she said. “I have the right, just as we all so, to be presumed innocent. We all deserve the right to an unbiased opinion until the facts of a case are heard in a court of law.”
Wallace’s lawyer, Alain Hepner, submitted a plea of guilty on her behalf at Strathmore provincial court, March 21. Wallace was also scheduled to appear in provincial court, April 4.
She did not attend the brief proceeding, at which Hepner submitted the plea on her behalf via video link. The entirety of the meeting took less than a minute of the court’s time.
Chestermere Mayor, Jeff Colvin, defended Wallace, suggesting the charges are a “distorted claim.”
Since the incident, Wallace remains in her office as director of corporate services, though has been mandated to work remotely.
“Spreading rumours and gossip only serves to harm, rather than build up our community. Chestermere is a beautiful place to live,” said Wallace in her statement. “We should not allow the toxicity created by lies and rumours to permeate our city. I ask all of us, no matter what the situation, wait until both sides are heard before forming an opinion of others.”
The assault accusation against Wallace is one of several controversies the City of Chestermere has been involved with in the past year.
Council voted to investigate its own “irregular” finances in the summer of 2022, employing a third party to review $600,000 in severance packages distributed to two former city employees.
The Province of Alberta is also looking into Chestermere’s governance after councilors Sandy Johal-Watt, Shannon Dean and Ritesh Narayan submitted complaints against Colvin, Mel Foat, Stephen Hanley, and Blaine Funk.
Chestermere City Council had also ordered another third-party investigation into its own utilities company last year after audits discovered millions of dollars being unaccounted for or declared missing.
By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Apr 20, 2023