Fort Macleod

Fort Macleod town council has voted to suspend the current Mayor for six months. (CBC)

The town council in Fort Macleod has voted to suspend Mayor Rene Gendre for six months, citing 'increasing concern' over his actions.

In a press release Wednesday, the Town of Fort Macleod said Gendre had been repeatedly warned about "acting outside the bounds of council procedures," including two formal requests from council in which they asked him to adhere to a behaviour covenant applicable to all council members, which he did not support. 

"As a council, we admire Rene's passion and dedication to the town and its affairs, but our overriding concern is for the community as a whole and for council's ability to effectively govern," the Town said in the press release.

"Our increasing concern with the Mayor's actions on several fronts — and especially outside the bounds of council approval — have led to this very difficult decision, which was arrived at after legal consultation and a review of applicable Town policies and legislation under the Municipal Government Act."

A code of conduct bylaw was passed on June 23 which allowed the town council to take the action.

The Town said there must be clarity about the relationship council has with the administration team and other members of the community.

Gendre remains a voting member of council and will still hold the ceremonial title of mayor during his suspension period, which takes effect July 1.

The suspension applies to all of Gendre's appointed positions on all boards and organizations, both town-related and those made to regional, provincial and other associations.

During the suspension, the town council says it will work to "clear up some misconceptions" regarding the roles and responsibilities of council members.

Those include the rules that council members cannot directly order Town employees or volunteers of Town organizations to perform tasks, that they cannot solicit business, negotiate and/or enter into formal financial agreements with businesses or other organizations on behalf of the Town without council consultation and approval, and that they cannot unilaterally remove or restrict Town funding or other resources.

A council-appointed deputy mayor will chair council meetings and fulfill the official obligations and administrative responsibilities of the Mayor.

A review will take place near the end of the six-month suspension and at that time the town council will choose to either reinstate the Mayor's duties or further extend the suspension.