Photo: Mayor Lantz and his wife Janet McNaughton at Monday’s Council meeting – Kimberley Molina/Energeticcity.ca
Fort St. John Mayor Bruce Lantz made a statement at Monday’s City Council meeting regarding a resolution reprimanding him for what Council had deemed his “unacceptable” behaviour while at events as a city representative.
With his wife Janet McNaughton standing behind him, Lantz announced he is an alcoholic. He said that even though he had quit drinking 30 years ago, he again began drinking after his heart attack more than two years ago. Although he said he does not blame his alcoholic relapse solely on his heart attack, he said something triggered him to drink after the incident.
Lantz said that he has not made it a secret that he is an alcoholic, but feels better now that it is publicly known.
He said he made the choice to stop drinking several weeks ago when he realised how his drinking was affecting the people around him.
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Lantz also said he is currently working with a counsellor to deal with his addiction.
In his speech, he said he now has a renewed determination to “improve substance abuse services in the northeast” and plans to develop better programs and facilities in the area.
City Council had passed the resolution at a closed council meeting on Feb. 28. The resolution stipulates that the Mayor will not be allowed to meet or travel by himself with a City female employee. He will also not be allowed to travel outside the region as a City representative unless Council specifically consents to the travel and another Councillor can travel with him.
The resolution stems from two separate complaints the City received about the Mayor’s conduct at two different events in 2010.
The complaints came to the City’s attention late last summer and since that time the City has brought in lawyers and an investigative service to review the complaints, said Councillor Dan Davies.
No information with regards to the specific nature of the complaints has been given.
Davies said he does not know the full monetary cost to the City for having to conduct the review, but that it was more important for the City to follow due diligence than to worry about the cost.
Despite the national attention the story has garnered, Davies said he still does not believe the City’s reputation will be affected.
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Davies said no timeline has been set as to when the reprimands would cease.