Members named to committee to review complaints against mayor, councillor

Yellowknife city council voted Thursday to appoint six members — including two councillors — to a committee struck to deal with duelling complaints filed by Coun. Niels Konge and Mayor Mark Heyck.

Mayor Mark Heyck and Coun. Niels Konge have filed conduct complaints in long-simmering dispute

Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck, left, and city Coun. Niels Konge are at the centre of a long-simmering dispute that has led duelling conduct complaints to be filed against one another. The complaints will be held by a 6-member Conduct Review Committee, named on Thursday. (CBC)

Yellowknife city council voted Thursday to appoint six members — including two councillors — to a committee created to deal with duelling complaints filed by Coun. Niels Konge and Mayor Mark Heyck.

Councillors Linda Bussey and Julian Morse will sit on the committee, along with four members of the public: Jeff Anderson, the former president of the NWT Housing Corporation; former territorial government cabinet secretary Penny Ballantyne; lawyer Sheldon Toner; and Appraisals North president Greg Merrithew.

The Conduct Review Committee will now be charged with deciding on a process to review the two complaints and then make recommendations to council on what actions, if any, should be taken as a result.

Heyck, Konge, and Coun. Shauna Morgan, who co-signed Heyck's complaint, recused themselves from the discussion of the committee. Coun. Steve Payne, who co-signed Konge's complaint, was not present.

Konge's complaint against the mayor — alleging that the mayor failed to remove himself from a closed-door meeting and created a conflict of interest — stems from the mayor's handling of complaints made by city employees against Konge in 2015.

Heyck pursued an external investigation of the complaints and presented it to council, which Konge has contended council was not aware of.

Konge has previously called the process followed by Heyck a "kangaroo court."

Heyck fired back with a complaint of his own, announcing it at an impromptu press conference in early October, where he called Konge's complaint "vexatious and frivolous" and said that he would not be intimidated.

In a letter sent last week to ​Yellowknife media, Konge called the press conference "ridiculous." 

This is the first time a Conduct Review Committee has been required since 2006, though at that time, a decision was made to have the City's audit committee take on its role.

City of Yellowknife Senior Administrative Officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett did not give specifics on when the committee would first meet, only to say it would be "soon."​

With files from Kirsten Murphy