Fort St. John City Council has spent nearly $36,000 so far on fees relating to the complaints against Mayor Bruce Lantz.
The City says in a statement that Council chose to obtain legal counsel last fall regarding the complaints. The total cost to Council, as of March 24, was $35,896.98. However, that amount could still increase.
The City has also provided a brief timeline regarding the complaints against the Mayor and Council’s actions to investigate him.
The City says it received complaints about the Mayor’s conduct in September 2010. In October, council then reviewed the complaints and, after Council considered the Mayor’s conduct at other events at which city councillors were present, decided an investigation needed to be conducted.
The City says it then conducted an investigation between November 2010 and January 2011. Then, on Feb. 14, Council received the Mayor’s response to the complaints and passed the resolution reprimanding him for his behaviour at a closed meeting. That resolution was then reaffirmed at a Feb. 28, 2011 closed meeting.
The resolution was made public through the media on March 10 and officially presented to the public at the March 14 City Council meeting, at which Mayor Bruce Lantz read a statement explaining alcoholism as a reason for his behaviour. At the time he said he was already seeking treatment for the addiction.
The City also states that as per the Community Charter “neither the City nor City Council has the right to remove an elected official from office under these circumstances.”
It also says that under the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the City cannot release the investigative report, the complainants’ names nor the details of the events that took place that caused the complaints.
Acting Mayor Larry Evans reiterates the City’s statement, saying Council has released all the information it can at this point, but does not know if further information might later be released.