South Peace News
A Town of High Prairie councillor who championed the cause for recorded votes offers no explanation on his inconsistencies regarding recorded votes on the hiring of a new CAO.
Shortly after the municipal election Oct. 18, 2021, James Waikle asked council to consider recording votes on all matters citing accountability to the voters. His request was eventually denied but he can still request a recorded vote on any motion at any time.
Waikle asked for a recorded vote June 14 when the matter arose to hire Sherry Poole as CAO. He voted in favour as did Mayor Brian Panasiuk, and councillors John Dunn and Therese Yacyshyn. Councillors Donna Deynaka, Sacha Martens, and Judy Stenhouse voted against.
A storm of controversy resulted in the decision. A motion was made at a special meeting of council July 4 calling for the termination of Poole. Waikle did not ask for a recorded vote. The vote was unanimous to terminate Poole.
“At this point I can’t really say why I didn’t ask for the recorded vote,” Waikle writes in an email asking why the inconsistency.
“Not because I can’t, but because I can’t explain why I didn’t ask for it.”
Waikle is asking for calm after the decision.
“I want our council to work together,” he says.
“I want us to be able to have good debates and make good sound decisions that will benefit the town.
“At this point, highlighting our disagreements may be more divisive than productive. Highlighting our differences at this point is counterproductive in my mind,” he concludes.
Waikle says the press can contact him regarding how he voted on any matter. Videos of regular council meetings are also posted on the town website for anyone to watch and see how councillors voted.
Waikle first brought forward the matter at council’s Oct. 26, 2011 meeting just eight days after the municipal election. In doing so, he said it was the best way for council to be transparent and accountable to the public.
However, at the Feb. 22 meeting, council denied the request all votes be recorded with only Waikle and Deynaka voting in favour.
“Complete transparency,” said Waikle at the meeting.
“I think people should know how we’re voting and they [council] should be accountable.”
“It’s one more way to be transparent,” said Deynaka.
“I’m not immune to having the votes recorded.”