The Nov. 7, 2018 headline in the Ponoka News: Former CAO claim settled out of court, settles nothing and in fact does just the opposite. It opens a floodgate of questions.
A CAO, a public official, gets fired for ‘justifiable cause’ from her functions as a CAO of our town.
The CAO then makes a claim against our town (and indirectly against me and every other tax paying resident).
This claim goes on for almost three years and eventually gets settled out of court.
Now, although our money, that is the taxes that residents pay to manage the running of our town, were used to defend and settle the claim, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act throws a veil of secrecy over the settlement, denying us, the stakeholders, the right to know how our hard earned dollars were spent.
Did Ms. Kunz, the former CAO, waive her right to privacy when she decided to publicly charge the Town of Ponoka with wrongful dismissal? I would argue in the affirmative.
Do we, as taxpayers, who have paid for this process, have a fundamental right to know the outcome of the agreement? Again I would argue in the affirmative.
In an era where transparency is demanded everywhere, especially where public funds and expenses are concerned, these actions of reticence are unacceptable.
We need to hold our stewards responsible and accountable for these costs. Hiding behind privacy laws only reinforce the idea that inequality remains and that impropriety has occurred. Not sure whose privacy is protected in this case but we, residents of Ponoka and invested stakeholders, have a right to know.