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City of Chestermere launches judicial review into provincial report on governance

The City of Chestermere has launched a judicial review of a provincial inspection of its governance released earlier this year. The document, called the Cuff Report, found a number of errors with the way city council was running. (File) The City of Chestermere has launched a judicial review of a provincial inspection of its governance released earlier this year. The document, called the Cuff Report, found a number of errors with the way city council was running. (File)

The City of Chestermere is fighting back against a provincial review, which found serious flaws in its governance earlier this year.

In a statement released Thursday, city officials said a judicial review is underway into Alberta's Cuff Report, a document that alleged mismanagement by Chestermere's government.

The 200-page report, which was released in March, laid out 12 directives for council to follow or risk losing their jobs.

Some of those included a requirement for the city to hire an auditing firm to submit outstanding financial statements, review its procedural bylaws, submit all code of conduct complaints to the province and cease "exercising power struggles on council."

The province also asked for a list of all municipal land sales since October 2021.

After the report was released, Jeff Colvin, Chestermere's mayor, called the findings "a complete distortion of facts."

"They weren't willing to share information with us. They weren't willing to share any evidence with us," Colvin said on March 27.

The judicial review seeks to dispute the validity of the Cuff Report, pause all of the associated ministerial orders, rescind the September 2022 appointment of an official administrator who was instructed to supervise council and request a new municipal inspection.

The initiation of the review comes more than a week after Chestermere called for steps to be made to improve "clarity, respect and true collaboration" with its provincial counterparts.

"While the city recognizes the importance of oversight and transparency, it cannot overlook the fact that the provincial government seems to have disregarded Chestermere's repeatedly voiced concerns," the city said in a statement on Sept. 12.

"The ongoing lack of a satisfactory response or genuine engagement with our feedback is unacceptable."

In a statement Thursday, Scott Johnston, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, confirmed the province has received notice of legal action from the City of Chestermere.

“We are reviewing the court submission and will not be providing further comment on a matter before the courts,” Johnston said. “The directives issued by the Minister in March 2023 are still binding. The Official Administrator remains in place, and his work continues.”

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