A clearly divided Council formally approved Al Hoggan as the County’s new Chief Administrative Officer at its December 11th meeting. The appointment was supported by Reeve Boehlke, Deputy Reeve Schule and Councillors Kamachi, McKylor, and Henn. It was opposed by Councillors Hanson, Gautreau, Wright, and Kissel.
Rocky View Forward uncovered troubling information about Hoggan’s tenure as Kneehill County’s CAO in late November – click here for details. Briefly, over 20% of Kneehill’s residents asked the Province to investigate questionable decisions in their County. The Province is currently in the early stages of its investigation. The decisions in question all occurred while Hoggan was Kneehill’s CAO.
It has become clear that at least some of Rocky View’s councillors had not been aware of this information when the preliminary hiring decision was made. This is in spite of the fact that the concerns and petition by Kneehill residents surfaced in late summer, before Rocky View councillors made their preliminary hiring decision. Whoever in Rocky View was responsible for background checks clearly dropped the ball and Hoggan also must not have disclosed this relevant information.
At the December 11th council meeting, Councillor Hanson asked that the decision be deferred until the controversy in Kneehill was resolved. The serious split on Council became immediately evident when Hanson's tabling motion was defeated in a 5 – 4 vote with Boehlke, Schule, Kamachi, McKylor, and Henn voting to forge ahead. Hanson, Gautreau, Wright, and Kissel supported the tabling motion, wanting to push the “pause” button to ensure the County had done its due diligence before finalizing the appointment decision.
Information that came out during the December 11th council meeting made it clear just how off-the-rails this hiring process was. Over one weekend in October, Reeve Boehlke took it upon himself to sign an offer of employment and an employment contract with Mr. Hoggan – both documents having been provided by Hoggan and not reviewed by any other RV councillor or by RV’s employment lawyers or the recruitment firm being used in the hiring process. Although the MGA clearly states that there must be a resolution of Council to hire a CAO, these documents failed to include any provision making them contingent on Council approval. All this occurred after councillors had conducted only one interview with prospective candidates, even though some councillors had argued for the importance of a second interview.
Despite these apparent flaws in the hiring process, the five councillors supporting Hoggan’s appointment as CAO confidently asserted that there had been no departures from standard procedures in the hiring process. This assertion was contradicted by the interim CAO, Rick McDonald, in response to questions from Councillor Henn.
We have prepared a transcript of the Council debate, which can be accessed here. If you’d rather listen for yourself, RVC’s audio is here, start at 1:44. For more background information, the emails we have sent out on this issue can be accessed here.