The challenge between Coun. Glenn Koester and Wheatland County regarding complaints and sanctions against Koester has returned to the Court of Kings Bench.
On Jan. 9, the court heard presentations from council of both sides during a session which was available for online attendance.
Koester is challenging the county’s decision regarding a complaint he received in 2022 alleging he had violated Wheatland County’s Code of Conduct, for which he was ultimately sanctioned following an investigation.
The sanctions saw him removed from all nine municipal boards he sat on as part of his elected duties as a councillor, among other resolutions.
Details at the time, as well as following the county’s decision and sanctions were voted to remain in camera and were not released to the public.
Information regarding the complaints against Koester was made public via affidavits submitted to the courts on his behalf, as well as via articles submitted for the jury’s consideration.
In his own affidavit, Koester explained the allegations surrounding the code of conduct violation complaints were in relation to actions taken by the Wheatland and Adjacent Districts Emergency Medical Services (WADESMA) Board of Directors, and actions taken by Wheatland Housing Management Body (WHMB) Board of Directors.
Koester was the chairperson of both bodies prior to his removal due to the sanctions against him imposed by the county.
The WADESMA issue stems from interactions based around a request made by County Reeve, Amber Link, Nov. 12, 2021, for a document which would at the time have outlined funding required to eliminate core-flex shifting for WADESMA operations.
Concerns which were raised during the discussion were in regards to whether Link’s husband being employed with WADESMA constituted a conflict of interest for her to be viewing the requested document, as well as with respect to Link communicating with other parties about WADESMA matters without explicit instruction by the board.
Via his affidavit for the court, Koester noted at no time did he or any other board member make open accusations of Link’s intentions, nor did they speak in a manner which would have been damaging to her reputation.
The complaint stemming from discussions occurring between the WHMB, originated from county Coun. Tom Ikert submitting his complaint to Link, who then brought it before Wheatland County council.
The WHMB, on or about Nov. 18, 2021, passed a vote to pass a COVID-19 vaccination policy for its board members. The motion for the policy was not put forward by Koester himself, who also denied imposing or pressuring other board members to vote in favour of the motion.
Ikert, who also previously sat on the WHMB board and was present for the discussion, was noted by Koester to have not raised any concerns or objections about the policy prior to voting against it during the discussion.
Koester noted in his affidavit that he was not made aware the motion to pass the policy had caused embarrassment to Ikert until he received the code of conduct violation complaint from Link. The described “embarrassment” was what had been noted as constituting the code of conduct violation complaint.
More information regarding the two issues, as well as about the sanctions imposed against Koester, is published online on the Strathmore Times website, as well as in the Feb. 8, 2023 issue of the Strathmore Times.
The Court of Kings Bench, having adjourned from its meeting, will resume discussion in February, at which point the jury will make its decision regarding Koester’s case.
By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Jan 18, 2024 at 23:27