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Krista Balsom Responds To Conflict Of Interest Investigation

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Krista Balsom Responds To Conflict Of Interest Investigation

Krista Balsom announces her campaign for a Ward 1 council seat at the Heritage Shipyard // Jaryn Vecchio - Harvard Broadcasting

An RMWB councillor is taking responsibility for actions that landed her in some hot water last month.

In an email on Friday, Krista Balsom claims she was misinformed by the municipality’s legal counsel when she participated in voting on the communications and stakeholder relations portion of the budget.

An independent investigation found Balsom, who owns Balsom Communications, was guilty of a conflict of interest involving the deliberations and her publication – YMM Magazine.

The Ward 1 councillor said in a Facebook post in February that she would not participate in that portion of the budget.

“Prior to the RMWB budgeting process, I declared a pecuniary interest in Council chambers and on social media as related to the Communications and Stakeholders budget process,” the email read. “I was the only Councillor to publicly declare such on any aspect of the city budgeting process. In keeping with that declaration, I refrained from all workshops, discussion and votes on that section of the budget.”

Balsom says she then sought input on some Community Investment Program grant requests within the budget – stating her concerns of the possible conflicts of interest.

It was at this time she says, she was advised by RMWB legal counsel she was not in conflict and as a result, participated in the votes in question.

Late last month, it was reported by the CBC that a third-party review and investigation was underway.

“I participated, fully and transparently, in that review and investigation, as I knew I had nothing to hide,” Balsom said in the email. “Through the investigation, I discovered, along with the investigator and my Council colleagues that I inadvertently had breached the Municipal Government Act by voting on some grant applications through the Community Investment Program grants.”

Balsom says she did not intend to breach the MGA or do so maliciously but only made the decision based on what she thought was “appropriate legal advice.”

“I have since come to understand that the advice I received was, in fact, wrong and these votes and participation in the debate on them were an error that I have since recognized to my colleagues and now to all of you, the residents of our region.”

The issue will now be brought before council at their Tuesday meeting at 6 p.m.

 

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