Mayor criticized by citizens group leader

  • Sep. 22, 2010 5:00 p.m.

By George Brown

A citizens group formed to challenge council on fiscal mismanagement wanted to hear first-hand from Mayor Larry Henkelman on their allegations — just not in what co-chair Norma Lloyd calls a “verbal assault.”

Lloyd told the group Sept. 15 that Henkelman accosted her recently while the two were in the parking lot at Tom Hortons. She said he used “abusive language” in referring to the group’s members and the allegations they have raised over what they claim is a maze of misinformation concerning the 38th Street local improvement levy that go back 20 years.

She would “not dare repeat” what Henkelman said. “He was slamming us.”

“It was totally uncalled for for a person in his position,” Lloyd added.

The mayor challenged her and the group to get their facts straight before they approach council or write letters to the editor in the Ponoka News, Lloyd said.

The group decided to write a letter to the mayor inviting him to their Oct. 5 meeting at the Ponoka County council chamber. They want him to “give the facts” about the 38th Street utilities installation, and they want to give him the opportunity to make a public apology.

Failing that, they will demand his resignation, even though Henkelman and the rest of town council are in the midst of a re-election campaign.

The group has always wanted to hear from the mayor about their concerns, Lloyd said. “But why did he have to communicate with me that way?”

In an interview, Henkelman gave his answer: “I’m frustrated. I’m proud of our town and in her letter in the newspaper she was running it down.

“I was sticking up for the town and the work this council has done.”

He said Lloyd and the citizens group is making false assumptions about the work and billing on 38th Street but because of privacy act rules, council and administration can’t give full details.