Stuart Kennedy quits city council
“With all due respect, I don’t think I can stay as part of this council”
Saying he can’t the get the support of his fellow councillors for his concerns about the performance of the city’s CAO and the continued operation of a spa business on Tundra Ridge, Coun. Stuart Kennedy announced this past Tuesday that he’ll quit his seat on Iqaluit City Council as of March 31.
Kennedy was also facing the possibility of disciplinary action from the rest of council for non-compliance with the city’s procedural bylaw.
“With all due respect, I don’t think I can stay as part of this council,” Kennedy said.
As chair of the city’s development appeal board, Kennedy participated in an appeal board ruling in February that overturned a council motion passed last fall to allow the continued operation of a spa business in a residential neighbourhood.
But his fellow councillors reacted to that decision by voting to instruct their lawyers to appeal the appeal board. As a result, the controversial spa, which Kennedy opposes, continues to operate.
Some neighbours and other residents say the spa business violates Iqaluit’s zoning bylaw, and that they will continue to fight it.
At the same time, the rest of council do not apparently support Kennedy in efforts to raise questions about the performance of the city’s CAO, Ian Fremantle.
In a series of statements made at the March 8 city council meeting, Kennedy made a variety of allegations about Fremantle’s performance, citing what he claims are examples of mismanagement.
He says he also opposes a council decision to pay Fremantle $15,000 in bonuses, saying council did not consider a letter Kennedy wrote in May of 2004, along with another letter from outgoing mayor John Matthews.
The rest of council, however, reacted to Kennedy’s statements by holding an in camera session at noon on March 10.
Kennedy left that session part way through. When the rest of council emerged from their in camera sitting, they passed a motion, made by Coun. Glenn Williams and seconded by Coun. Nancy Gillis, directing the mayor and senior staff to seek legal advice on disciplining councillors who don’t comply with the city’s procedural bylaw.
That’s likely because some of Kennedy’s statements on employee performance are of a type usually made in camera.
After Kennedy announced his resignation, Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik said she hopes he’ll come back.
“It’s unfortunate that Stu left. But I’m sure he’s not the first to feel what he’s feeling now and I’m sure he’s not the last,” Sheutiapik said.
Kennedy will be the third elected councillor to vacate a seat since the municipal election held in the fall of 2003. The late Goola Nakasuk passed away last year, and former deputy mayor Chris Wilson recently resigned to seek a job with the city’s fire department.
Council filled those spots by appointing two people drawn from the list of candidates who ran in 2003, Theresa Rodrigue and Brad Hall.
Coun. Nancy Gillis says this time, however, council should decide to hold a byelection to fill the vacant seat.
She said if council decides not to hold a byelection, she’ll quit her seat too.