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Kippens council highlights

Clockwise from bottom left: Coun. Shawn Boyd, Coun. Tim Alexander, Coun. Wayne Howlett, Mayor Debbie Brake-Patton, Coun. Heather Shears, Deputy Mayor Leon Benoit. – © Jaymie L. White / Wreckhouse Press Incorporated

By JAYMIE L. WHITE Special to the Appalachian

KIPPENS – The most recent meeting of Kippens Town Council took place virtually on Monday evening, Oct. 18. In attendance were Mayor Debbie Brake-Patton, Deputy Mayor Leon Benoit, and councillors Heather Shears, Shawn Boyd, Tim Alexander and Wayne Howlett. The meeting began with a land acknowledgment by Mayor Brake-Patton, and matters discussed included the tender for loader to use for snow clearing, the salt and sand shed project, and the letter drafted to the contractor whose complaint was brought forth at a previous council meeting,

Town tenders

While discussing new business, Deputy Mayor Leon Benoit put forth the motion that the council approve the tender to lease a new loader for snow clearing.

“The tender document is 100 per cent finished as of this evening, and we are looking for council to give us the okay to get Josie (Noseworthy) to put it on our website, to put it out to the different vendors or whoever wants to bid on this, and wait for the tenders to come in in the next two weeks, then make a selection after that.”

Benoit said the benefits to a new loader include the blade and the wing setup, that snow removal can be done by one person instead of two, and that the new loader would be compatible with the equipment used in other municipalities. There are also future plans to put out a tender to purchase a backhoe once the tender for the loader is done.

“We need something to load the sand truck and the salt truck, and the backhoe would come in very handy for us. We can use it for digging our own water lines, use it for cleaning around fire hydrants. It would have a lot of usage we could avail of,” said Benoit.

The motion for both the loader and the backhoe tenders passed.

Salt and sand shed

Before the matter was discussed, Coun. Shawn Boyd declared himself in conflict and left the room.

Deputy Mayor Benoit then outlined the updates on the project, and noted that the overhead doors should be delivered in about three to four weeks.

“Once the pavement is down, this building is ready to be used,” said Benoit. “It’s certainly an improvement in that area and it’s nice to see our guys will finally have a place to have some nice salt and sand in a place where they don’t have to be beating ice off the truck to get the stuff put in.”

Benoit estimated that four to five days after the pavement is laid, salt and sand can be placed in the shed. The sand and salt will be purchased from the Town of Stephenville because of the better price offered.

Letter debate

Before the letter was discussed, Deputy Mayor Benoit and Coun. Howlett declared themselves in conflict. Mayor Brake-Patton drafted the letter herself and asked the table if anyone had any problems with what she wrote.

Coun. Boyd stated he had an issue with what was in the letter because it was not an accurate representation of what was discussed in the council meeting.

“The letter is giving consensus that the Town is taking responsibility for something they never did,” noted Boyd. “We agreed at that meeting that the ones who were involved, we never found anything wrong, and we sent out a letter of apology in case somebody got offended, but the way the letter is stated is saying that there were issues with the internal workers. That’s the way I perceived the letter.”

The issue was then raised of how to differentiate when something is harassment, which is what the complaint is regarding, and when it is just keeping on top of things.

“It’s the same thing if you are doing a job and you are just asking questions to get an update,” said Councillor Tim Alexander. “To me that would be normal procedure.”

Mayor Brake-Patton agreed.

“I asked lots of questions to the staff and I ended up with a harassment complaint against me,” said Brake-Patton. “Is it harassment or is it not harassment? That’s a really great point. You are making sure things are getting done, work is getting done, so you ask questions because you need answers, so what is it? That’s a very good point.”

A debate then ensued between Coun. Boyd and Mayor Brake-Patton as to what the letter is saying, with Boyd believing it comes across like the Town is putting blame on the councillor and staff who are involved in the complaint, and Brake-Patton countering that it is a diplomatic way to address the issue.

It was decided that the council would meet at another time to discuss the matter further.

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