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Charlottetown CAO Peter Kelly’s probation ends, city quiet on status

Peter Kelly, shown left with Mayor Clifford Lee, was hired by the City of Charlottetown to be its new chief administrative officer last year. The job, which began May 1, 2016, turned out to be one of the biggest news stories of that year.
Peter Kelly, shown left with Mayor Clifford Lee, was hired by the City of Charlottetown to be its new chief administrative officer last year. The job, which began May 1, 2016, turned out to be one of the biggest news stories of that year.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Peter Kelly’s status as Charlottetown’s chief administrative officer (CAO) could become much clearer in July.

That’s when an independent third party, Strategic Steps, will hand in its report to the Alberta government.

The Alberta Department of Municipal Affairs began the process of a review, looking at whether Kelly violated the Municipal Government Act over a land deal while he served as CAO of Westlock County in Alberta between September 2014 and February 2016.

Alberta’s municipal affairs contracted Strategic Steps Inc. to conduct the review. Inspectors arrived March 10.

He left his job in Westlock County to become CAO in Charlottetown on May 1, 2016. Kelly was then placed on six months probation to Nov. 1, but that was then extended a further six months to May 1, pending the ongoing review.

That was a month ago. It’s been silence since then, with no comment from City Hall on what Kelly’s status is now that the second probationary period is done.

The Guardian could not reach Mayor Clifford Lee or Kelly for comment on Wednesday.

Lee did tell The Guardian in a year-end 2016 interview that council would deal with the matter sometime in 2017, so perhaps the plan is to simply wait for the Alberta review to finish up before making any decisions.

Shari-Anne Doolaege, an associate with Strategic Steps in Alberta, told The Guardian it is conducting a comprehensive review of the governance, administration and operations of the municipality.

Interviews have been done, but she wouldn’t say whether Kelly was one of them.

“The process began with significant research and interviews with many local officials, both current and former. We will not disclose the specific names of interviewees to media sources as you have requested.’’

Doolaege said the research and interview stage part of the project is complete and they are focused on report writing, to be completed in July.

The Westlock News reported last year that Kelly left his job in the Alberta town with an outstanding $200,000 bill when he moved to P.E.I. to take the Charlottetown job.

The matter involves the cost to develop an eight-acre industrial park lot for a developer. The newspaper reported an auditor says the county would never recoup the $395,000 it spent to prepare the land and, based on market trends, the county stood to lose more than $200,000 on the deal due to cost overruns.

Kelly is accused of never bringing the expenditure to council for approval, breaching the provincial act.

Kelly has said he brought the matter to council and was directed by council to move forward.

“Council made a public motion to enter into the lease agreement, and that’s where it was,’’ Kelly said previously. “I dealt with the information I was given by staff.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

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