Dear Editor: In early January, 12 former town employees submitted a letter to Coaldale town council expressing concerns about the methodology and findings of the Town of Coaldale’s recent HR investigation. We hoped the contents of our letter would be discussed by Coaldale town council in an open session.
Instead, two council meetings have passed without any discussion in open session. The only response received is we have been told to reference the HR report and “they consider the matter closed.” Shouldn’t our letter have been disclosed or at least its contents discussed and presented openly by town council? How can the town’s municipal investigation into alleged employee mistreatment be considered fair, transparent and credible if most potential past employee victims were not contacted by the town, nor given adequate opportunity to be interviewed? Further, how can Coaldale town council be taken seriously if they launch an investigation that discourages and prevents input from the possible victims making allegations? To summarize what took place – it is our feeling, as expected the town’s investigator deflected blame away from municipal administration by casting at least some blame on the victims (former employees) – with a report described as “independent.” Unbelievably, this was done without interviewing most of the victims raising concerns.
While former Town of Coaldale employees are disappointed at the recent findings of the Town of Coaldale HR Audit, we feel the outcome was a foregone conclusion. I, and many people in Coaldale feel the Town of Coaldale HR Audit is another waste of taxpayer dollars, with a manipulated outcome that prevents the true facts from being revealed.
When Coaldale town council keeps bringing up the costs this is creating, they should instead look at the costs created by all their non-disclosure agreements, (alleged) wrongful dismissal lawsuits, employee turnover, legal fees and the resulting future investigations yet to come. What is going on? This is just a small town for goodness sake. Why are so many non-disclosure agreements with former employees required? Doesn’t this seem odd and unusual for this to keep happening with former staff – many of whom fear speaking out? Sooner or later the truth will come out. Red flags should be popping up everywhere to our elected councillors, who it appears are indirectly condoning and enabling this behaviour.
Unfortunately, this only further demonstrates the need and urgency for a Municipal Inspection of Coaldale town council and administration by Alberta Municipal Affairs.
The winds of change are blowing, and the October election cannot come soon enough.