In their latest meeting, the Village of Burns Lake (VBL) town council approved a contract service agreement for new Economic Development Officer (EDO) Ken Guenter, as well as Mayor Dolores Funk.
According to VBL Chief Administrative Officer Sheryl Worthing, Guenter will carry out economic development deliverables from the village’s economic diversification plan and the tourism plan. Mayor Funk will assist with some smaller, short term tourism related deliverables.
The typical roll of an EDO is to support local business while working to attract new business to the area. The former EDO for the Village of Burns Lake Lorie Watson resigned in May after over two years of service, causing the need to contract Guenter.
Due to the fact that the contractors Guenter and Funk will be carrying out the same responsibilities as the previous EDO’s that were employed by the VBL, the low-risk activity can be insured by including both contractors under the town’s municipal insurance policy as associate members for a cost of $500 per year. The motion was carried by town council to do so.
The reason laid out in the town council meeting for adding the two contractors as associate members is that individual contractor insurance is cost prohibitive.
Worthing told Lakes District News that the VLB obtained legal opinion to determine if they could contract Mayor Funk, who is a council member, and concluded that they are in fact permitted to enter into an agreement as long as a conflict of interest is reported to the Corporate Officer (CO). The council member is also not allowed to remain in the meeting.
Lakes District News can confirm that Mayor Funk, who was present at the meeting, declared the conflict of interest to the CO and promptly left the meeting. The CO then disclosed the conflict of interest to the council in the open, public meeting.