Prince Albert City Council will vote Monday on whether to ask the Court of King’s Bench to determine if Councillor Terra Lennox-Zepp and Coun. Tony Head are still qualified to remain on council.
The motion springs from council debates and votes on the new agreement with CUPE 882, the union representing the City’s inside workers. Council approved the agreement at a meeting on Dec. 11. During the meeting, Lennox-Zepp decided to vote on the agreement without declaring a conflict of interest, despite objections from Mayor Greg Dionne.
Monday’s agenda includes a report written by City solicitor Mitch Holash. In it, Holash writes that the City has received “a privileged and confidential legal opinion” from law firm Brownlee LLP saying councillors are in a conflict of interest if they are employed by or have spouses employed by CUPE unions in the City’s workplace and administration brings forward matters involving motions, discussions, deliberations, debate, information, or voting on collective bargaining negotiations.
Lennox-Zepp’s husband, Craig Thebaud, is listed as a staff advisor for Region 2 of the Prince Albert CUPE area office on the CUPE Healthcare Workers Local 5430 web page. Thebaud has been assigned to work with CUPE 882 in the past. At the December meeting, Lennox-Zepp said he is not currently a member of the CUPE team negotiating with the City of Prince Albert
Head spent nine years as a former CUPE national representative before being elected to council. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Prince Albert in the collections and distribution department.
Council has multiple options before them. Under The Cities Act they can invite the two councillors to resign, defer the vote to the courts, declare the councillors’ offices vacant, or create a resolution outlining when conflict of interest matters could be referred to court or cause a vacancy, or do nothing if they think there is no conflict of interest.