Members of city council took the first steps to disqualifying councillor Julia Butler at an in-camera meeting Monday.
At the regular council meeting Monday night Mayor Frank Konrad read a statement saying, “The City of Grand Forks city council voted in favour of filing an application to the court for the declaration of disqualification against councillor Julia Butler. The petition was filed pursuant to section 111 of the community charter application to court declaration of disqualification pursuant to section 110—restrictions on participation in conflict.
“Council moved forward with a petition to protect the best interests of the organization and will proceed with the filing of the application to the Supreme Court immediately, ” said the statement.
Konrad added that although council would not be able to speak further on the matter as it is now filed in court, they wanted the citizens to be aware of the situation.
Council voted 5-2 to accept the statement. Voting for the motion were Councillors Neil Krog, Michael Wirischagin, Chris Hammett and Christine Thompson. Mayor Konrad and Councillor Julia Butler opposed the motion.
Earlier Monday, the city released a press release regarding conflict of interest issues involving both Butler and Konrad. That statement was based on an opinion from the city’s legal counsel, Young Anderson.
Here are the full contents of that release:
“In their commitment to the public to be transparent and open, council would like to advise that the City of Grand Forks sought a legal opinion from the organization’s lawyers Young Anderson regarding a conflict of interest that Mayor Konrad and Councillor Butler are perceived to be in.
“The opinion received advised that Mayor Konrad has an indirect pecuniary conflict of interest in relation to the Water Meter Work, and Coucillor Butler has a direct pecuniary interest in relation to the Water Meter program. Both Mayor Konrad and Councillor Butler have been advised that they should recuse themselves from any further participation in relation to the respective matters in respect of which Young Anderson believes they have a conflict of interest and have advised both parties that they should obtain independent legal advice on the issue.
“Young Anderson further advised that the remainder of council should encourage Mayor Konrad and councillor Butler to recuse themselves from any further participation to the respective matters.”