Wheatland County Coun. Glenn Koester’s challenge against Wheatland County in Alberta Court of King’s Bench was successful, as of March 1, with the final decision being filed. 

Koester challenged the county, beginning in Dec. 2022 regarding sanctions placed against him over an alleged code of conduct violation which saw him removed from all nine municipal boards he previously sat on. 

The code of conduct violation complaint was filed March 1, 2022 by county Reeve Amber Link. Koester, in his affidavit filed July 26, 2022, explained allegations through the complaint related to actions taken by the Wheatland and Adjacent Districts Emergency Medical Services (WADESMA) board of directors, and actions taken by the Wheatland Housing Management Body (WHMB) board of directors. 

A full summary of both issues was published in the Feb. 8, 2023 edition of the Strathmore Times. 

The citation, which was filed through the Court of King’s Bench, which is publicly available, addresses the affidavits submitted by Koester, as well as on his behalf by Coun. Rick Laursen, and town Coun. Denise Peterson.

Additionally, the citation summarizes the affidavit provided by Brian Henderson, chief administrative officer for Wheatland County. 

It is stated in the citation, the investigation report created in response to the code of conduct violation complaints “does not contain any ‘summary of evidence from witnesses’ that is intelligible in any sense. It does not disclose who was interviewed, nor does it say who said what about whom.”

With respect to both complaints, it was described the summary of evidence is completely unattributed, and thus it is not possible for a reader of the report to determine the sources and content of what the investigation report describes as fact.

The investigation report regarding the WHMB issue is described in the citation as “clearly flawed in its reasoning.”

“No reasonable municipality, fully informed of all the facts would have found Coun. Koester breached the Code in relation to the WHMB Complaint. The process that led to this conclusion was not transparent, intelligible and justified, and in passing the Complained Upholding Resolution in this manner, Wheatland failed to uphold the underlying principles that underpin prosecution under the Code,” reads the citation.

Resolutions made by the county against Koester were quashed in their entirety, as it was ruled, given the way the Complaint Upholding Resolution was drafted, both WADESMA and WHMB complaints were scrambled into one document.

As the sanctions and resolutions by Wheatland County have been quashed, Koester expressed a desire to be reinstated on all boards he was previously removed from. 

“I was extremely happy to hear the results of the court’s decision. I am overwhelmed by all the support I have received after Getz Collins and Associates posted a brief synopsis on Facebook,” said Koester. “I am not sure at this point in time how this will impact me or the county. I can only hope for the best … with great power, comes great responsibility. Hopefully council will become more honest and transparent.”

Koester added he hopes if a similar dispute amidst council arises, it will be handled in public as opposed to in camera, as he maintains a belief the public has a right to know what is happening in the county.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 13, 2024 at 20:03

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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