April 24th, 2024

Power, salary stripped from Mayor Clark (updated)

By James Tubb on March 21, 2024.


Medicine Hat News

Mayor Linnsie Clark has been sanctioned following a vote in a special sitting of Medicine Hat city council on Thursday, reducing her duties and salary, and restricting how she can interact with city staff.

Clark responded with a statement calling the penalties “disproportionate” and saying she would weigh her legal options.

The measures, imposed under council’s code of conduct legislation, were approved by a 7-0 vote without Clark present as council approved receiving a third-party report into an tense interaction between the mayor and city manager Ann Mitchell last August.

The move comes after council members met for at least four hours this week in closed session without staff, Clark, or Coun. Shila Sharps present.

Acting Mayor, Coun. Andy McGrogan confirmed to the News that the complaint against Clark was filed by Sharps, and neither took part in discussions of the third-party report, written by law firm Kingsgate Legal and delivered to council in December.

That report will be made public, said McGrogan, after it is redacted for privacy concerns.

On Thursday, council unanimously approved a letter of reprimand, which states Clark was disrespectful when she questioned Mitchell about process under which a corporate reorganization and layoffs were handled.

Among the sanctions imposed:

— Requests an be apology to Mitchell;
— Suspend the mayor’s position as chair council meetings, or attending senior administrative meeting;
— Restricted from for entering staff areas at city hall or interacting with staff entirely;
— Communications with city manager limited to email with correspondence copied to all members of council, or if city manager agrees to in-person meetings another of council must be present;
— Suspend mayors ability to act as the official spokesperson for council;
— A 50 per cent reduction in salary, effective immediately (the position pays $144,000 annually).
This story will be updated and a full report will be published in Friday’s print edition.

[Editors Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly state that a letter of apology was required, but in fact, a letter of reprimand will be made public and an apology is requested, but not required.]

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