By ANNA SMITH Local Journalism Initiative on February 9, 2024.
During usual councillor reports during Tuesday’s Cypress County meeting, Ward 4 Coun. Robin Kurpjuweit provided advance notice of his intent to put forward a motion to request a municipal inspection.
While not often used within the county’s proceedings, said Kurpjuweit, it’s within their procedural bylaw. The goal, he explained, is to provide a “heads up” to his fellow council members that he will be bringing forward the motion at the next meeting on Feb. 21.
The inspection from the Minister of Municipal Affairs would, as Kurpjuweit explained during the meeting, “assess all aspects of the county’s operations and governance and to identify any irregular or improper conduct by the county council.”
“My hope, and my goal, is that all of the council will support it unanimously,” said Kurpjuweit. “This past year has been full of ups and downs, and I really do think that, you know, we owe it to our residents, and the taxpayers within the county to ensure that we’re providing good government.”
Kurpjuweit did not reference any specific decision prompting this request, and would rather this potential inspection be considered akin to a routine medical checkup, in order to ensure the county is operating at its best.
“They come in, and they have a look at policies and procedures and what we’re following, and they look at the conduct of the council as a whole and individually, and that can help us to identify any areas of potential improvement,” said Kurpjuweit.
He believes this would be a good step forward for transparency and showing commitment to ratepayers that council will continue to provide the best possible government moving forward.
A notice of motion hasn’t been used in Cypress County for a long time, said Kurpjuweit, but he said he intends to utilize the procedure more often, as he hopes it will give each councillor more time to research, think and form opinions prior to discussion.
“The thing with council is that, once you have a conversation in council and you make a decision, you’ve already made the decision and it’s a motion of council,” said Kurpjuweit. “I will certainly be utilizing notice of motions more often because it gives the council more of a heads up, it gives the public more of a heads up so there can be more engagement on their end, as well.”
It is his hope that this will be an opportunity for improvement for the county, should the motion pass at the coming meeting. Kurpjuweit could not provide any timeline in which the inspection would take place, following the letter from the county to municipal affairs.
“It just boils down to good government, which is what we seek to deliver as a county,” said Kurpjuweit. “That’s the whole reason why I brought it forward. This is our opportunity to provide that health report on how we’re doing and also to look at if there are ways that we can improve our own performance and what we’re doing as a council as well as a county itself.”