‘If we don’t have an answer, we look stupid,’ councillor tells employee

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Some eyebrows were raised at the Big Lakes County meeting Sept. 12 when an employee began telling a councillor what his duties were.

Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk asked director of public works Kevin Cymbaluk for reports on gravel. He was supported by Councillor Tyler Airth, who said he had concerns with the possibility of too much sand at one recent job.

Cymbaluk replied the company doing the work for the County was “top-notch” and ensuring a good quality product was supplied to the County.

Zabolotniuk requested council be supplied with a report upon completion.

CAO Jerry Gautreau responded on the actions of Zabolotniuk..

“We have concerns when a councillor goes (on site) without us knowing,” he said, citing safety issues as one example.

Cymbaluk then started telling Zabolotniuk what a councillor’s duty was. It did not take long for Councillor Jeff Chalifoux to intervene.

“We have a responsibility and accountability to our constituents,” said Chalifoux.

“If we don’t have an answer, we look stupid.”

Gautreau told council he would discuss the matter “with staff” and the matter was dropped.

Councillors are not allowed to give direction or orders to any staff members except the CAO.

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