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Norman Wells plows ahead

"It’s been an exciting and productive time," said Norman Wells Mayor Frank Pope of the past six months, since he and the community's new council took over town administration from the GNWT.

Frank Pope
Norman Wells Mayor Frank Pope says it is an exciting and productive time getting the new town council up and running. The council is working to hire new municipal staff and build relations with the town administration in order to serve the community better. photo courtesy of Frank Pope

"We do find ourselves in a very sound financial position and we are presently in the process of recruiting a municipal services manager, a combined fire chief/bylaw enforcement officer, a recreation director and a utilities trainee."

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) dissolved Norman Wells' council in 2017 and put the community under an administrator after a report found conflicts of interest and failures to observe rules and procedures for meetings.
In this interregnum, bylaws were changed and clarified, particularly in the areas of procurement, employment and conflicts of interest.

"Going back to the previous stuff that went on," said Pope. "It’s a collective goal of the mayor and council to regain the confidence of the community.
"We believe the municipal level of government is the most important government to people’s daily lives and we’re working very hard to achieve the goals of the community."
Pope said council began their term with intensive mayor and council training, delivered by interim SAO Darren Flynn, who’s since passed the torch.
Pope praised Flynn for his help.

Flynn also helped them create a process to hire the new senior administrative officer.
"The recruitment process was very professional and thorough," said Pope.
"Our priorities for the new SAO were that the individual be hardworking, honest and a team player. I’m glad to say we were very successful and our new SAO Cathy Clarke is in place and working hard already."

Council has completed and passed an operations and capital budget for the town this year as well as approving the 2018 financial audit for the town.
A strategic planning session is planned for a weekend next month, so council can begin putting together a long-term plan for the town and future councils. He says the results of this will be communicated to the public.

MACA is continuing to support the town as the mayor and council took authority, according to department communications planning specialist Jay Boast.
"The department is encouraged with the approach that the council has taken and looks forward to continuing to work with council and staff," he wrote on behalf of the department.