They say there are three sides to every story: your's, mine and the truth.
What better example than the Town of Olds posting “For immediate release, council code of conduct breached by Thomson.”
The headlines could have just as easily read “Thomson’s conduct at the July 6, 2020 council meeting did not violate the code” or “Complaint is dismissed” if you read the full reports.
The town’s news release giddily brags “Investigation has cost the taxpayers of Olds approximately $27,000 and could have easily been avoided if Councillor Thomson had simply acted appropriately.”
So let’s talk about acting appropriately.
Complaint Investigation #1 was filed by: the mayor. The complaint was received by the “receiving body”, which if you read the bylaw, is the mayor. The mayor then had the choice, under the bylaw, to decide if the complaint should proceed further.
Spoiler alert, and maybe this could be the headline: “Mayor decides mayor’s complaint is valid and decides to call in optional expensive lawyer, blames $27,000 bill on councillor.”
Let this be clear: you are not playing with your money, you are playing with our money.
Why did the mayor not recuse himself as the receiving body in receiving the complaint from himself. Why not retain other, less expensive impartial third parties as permitted by the bylaw for the role of investigator?
Why mislead readers that the entire $27,000 bill was due to councillor Thomson’s one Facebook post, when the report clearly addresses several years of history between the Town of Olds and Olds Institute (OI)?
What results might we find against the other councillors if we were to arm councillor Thomson with a blank check for legal fees and the right to escalate any of his concerns to an ethics advisor?
Don’t answer these questions, as they are rhetorical and we don’t need another $27,000 bill from a lawyer in Edmonton.
Please, for the sake of our community, get over yourselves.
None of us are perfect, none of us are free from personal agendas. That’s why we elected representatives in the first place, because they stand for things like honesty and integrity, and representing the people of Olds.
The truth in all of this will come out (it always does), and in the meantime, we the people of Olds are tired of the he-said-she-said.
And it would be great to read a headline like “Council does their job for a change".