St. Francois Xavier reeve resigns over CAO firing
A political mystery is unfolding in a community just outside Winnipeg: the RM of St. Francois Xavier's CAO has been fired and the reeve has resigned.
At the July RM meeting, council voted three to two to fire the CAO, without cause. No reason has been given publicly.
During the same meeting council publicly reprimanded Reeve Dwyane Clark with a censure. A motion says the reeve's punishment had to do with an incident at a previous meeting.
"The conduct of Reeve Dwayne Clark towards other council members and members of the public at the council meeting that occurred on June 19, 2018 does not reflect the standards and values of council."
The man at the centre of all, Dwayne Clark, believes this all started with a disagreement with other councillors over his desire to end the June meeting around 9:00 p.m.
“As chair of the meeting it's my responsibility to carry on with the meeting and to determine what is the appropriate amount of delegations and time limits," said Clark.
As for why the CAO was let go and whether it's connected to his reprimand, he can't say for sure. Clark says councillors kept him in the dark on the plan to fire the CAO, other than to say the RM was moving in a different direction.
"I don't know what the other council members were thinking either. They have never discussed that with me before, the CAO’s performance had never come into question before this,” said Clark.
As a result he's resigned and has launched a complaint with the province alleging his former colleagues have violated the Municipal Act by blindsiding him with the CAO’s termination.
"It's highhanded. I'm very disappointed with the individuals who have acted in this way," said Clark.
The former CAO responded to CTV News in an email saying she has no comment as she is contemplating litigation.
The assistant CAO has been appointed acting CAO in the meantime.
CTV News reached out to the rest of council for comment and have not yet heard back.
On Tuesday the province responded by saying, "As the governing body of a municipality, councils have the authority and responsibility to make decisions that they believe are in the best interest of their community. This includes the authority to make decisions on the hiring, salaries and benefits as well as terminations of a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)."
"The Province of Manitoba has been in contact with the RM of St Francois Xavier and continues to provide assistance. The Province of Manitoba does not intervene in the internal human resource decisions of a municipality."