By George Brown
The chair and vice-chair of the Rimoka Housing Foundation are at odds over expenses and the integrity of the board.
Coun. John Jacobs told Ponoka town council he questions the integrity of board chairman Joe Anglin after he claimed more than $12,000 in per diems and mileage expenses for the first seven months of the year.
Jacobs, the board’s vice-chair, told his fellow councillors he has “concerns about the direction Rimoka has been going.”
“I am disgusted that Joe Anglin, the chair of Rimoka Housing Foundation, was paid $9,720 at the end of July and one week earlier also signed an expense cheque payable to himself for $2,300.48 for mileage,” Jacobs told council Aug. 9. “Every other board representative received $240.
“I was appointed to the Rimoka board in November 2008. Doug Gill and Dale Barr, when they were chair, had integrity and always promoted what was best for our residents and the Rimoka foundation. I was impressed with both Doug and Dale as chairmen of Rimoka housing. I do not feel the same way about our current chair.”
Mayor Larry Henkelman, Ponoka’s other rep on the board, told council Rimoka had no administrator after Gerry Hildebrand resigned, and appointed municipal CAOs Charlie Cutforth and Tony Goode as interim administrators.
“They weren’t very active as interim CAOs,” he said. “It did put a lot of pressure on the chairman and it did involve a lot of time.”
Henkelman said had Anglin’s claims been submitted monthly, the directors would have had a better idea of the time being spent by the chairman on day-to-day administrative duties. “As it turned out, these claims were totalled over a period of six months.”
Board policy dictates if expense claims are not submitted within 60 days, the claim must be approved by a resolution of the board. “It was approved by the board,” Henkelman said. “It wasn’t carried unanimously but it was carried by the board.”
“This really, really troubles me,” said Coun. Gill. “We have seen what was probably the most outstanding seniors foundation in Alberta degraded to mockery right now.”
Gill suggested when the foundation’s auditor sees these transactions he “is just going to freak out.”
“It’s almost like a loss of conscience for the whole foundation,” Gill added.
Board approved expenses, Anglin says
In an interview, Anglin explained the extra time he devoted to the job was required after the CAO resigned, and it was approved by the board.
“These are not the normal per diems,” Anglin said. “These are extraordinary expenses that John Jacobs should have been fully aware of a long time ago.”
“We decided not to hire a temporary CAO. That was a board decision. From my perspective, what we decided to do was, we wanted to hire a permanent one sooner rather than later.”
Anglin said Jacobs supported the decision to have the chairman assume some of the day-to-day administrative duties of the foundation while the search was on for a CAO, and while the board prepared a business plan and an application for a new residence in Rimbey.
“He does not like the expenses; the board approved the expenses. It’s a moot point,” Anglin said. “Had we hired a temporary CAO we would have run expenses of roughly $6,000 or $7,000 a month — not for six months.”
“The board’s decision, in hindsight, was the right decision.”
Anglin said he met with the foundation’s lawyer on weekends to discuss contracts because it was more convenient for the lawyer and that actually saved money.
“How often do you operate without a CAO? How often do you have to negotiate on an incoming CAO contract and deal with what we have as a non-executable outgoing CAO contract?”
Anglin, a Rimbey town councillor, believes Jacobs is opposed to the time he is putting toward the possible assisted living expansion in Rimbey because he doesn’t want to see the project go ahead.
“He’s made it very clear Rimbey doesn’t deserve or need assisted living.”
The Rimoka Foundation was established in 1959 under the Homes for the Aged Act.
The foundation’s first lodge, the Golden Leisure Lodge, was opened in November of 1969 on land donated by the County of Ponoka with contributions by the partnering towns.
In October 1972 Parkland Manor was completed by the province and handed over to the foundation. Ten years later, the administration of Reid Manor in Ponoka and Kansas Ridge 1 and 2 in Rimbey were transferred from the province to the foundation.
The foundation was established as a management body under new legislation called the Alberta Housing Act in 1995 and at that time a representative of the Royal Canadian Legion No. 66 and the foundation became responsible for the administration of additional seniors housing services including Legion Anniversary Arms and Slater Place.
The Bethany Care Society was selected earlier this year to manage senior citizens’ housing in Rimbey and Ponoka.