Court Ruling Announced in Grand Forks Councillor Conflict of Interest Case

 Court Announces Ruling for Grand Forks BC Councillor Julia Butler  – Featured photo: Grand Forks City Hall by Hatch Interior Design

TMTV.NET Grand Forks, BC – The Honourable Mr. Justice Greyell of the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled today in the City’s application to have the office of Councillor Julia Butler declared vacant on the basis that she contravened sections 100 and 101 of the Community Charter.

Grand Forks BC Councillor Julia Butler
Grand Forks BC Councillor Julia Butler – City of Grand Forks photo

In his Reasons for Judgment, Justice Greyell held that, while Councillor Butler “clearly had a direct conflict of interest when she participated in discussion about the [Water Meter] Program before she divested herself of doing business as Eden [Yardcare] in early March, 2015”, she did not have a conflict of interest when she voted on the bylaw. On that basis, Justice Greyell dismissed the City’s application, with costs to Councillor Julia Butler. In a twelve page document, Mr. Justice Greyell provided his rationale for the judgement.

In May of 2015, Grand Forks City Council filed a Petition with the British Columbia Supreme Court to have Councillor Butler’s perceived conflict of interest reviewed. Mr. Justice Greyell ruled today that Councillor Butler will not be removed from office as Councillor for the City of Grand Forks.

While, at paragraph 30 of his Reasons for Judgment, Justice Greyell stated that “In [his] view Ms. Butler quite clearly had a direct conflict of interest when she participated in discussion about the [Water Meter] Program before she divested herself of doing business as Eden [Yardcare] in early March, 2015”, he held at paragraph 32 that he was satisfied that “Ms. Butler’s change in status from operating her own business to taking a position of employment with Arch [Angle] [did] not place her in a conflict with the [Water Meter] Program.” On this basis, Justice Greyell held that the City had not established that, at the time that Councillor Butler voted on the bylaw, she had a conflict of interest, and dismissed the Petition against Councillor Butler, with costs.

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In a statement issued earlier today, it was reported that Justice Greyell ruled that Councillor Butler was in a conflict of interest. To be clear, while, at paragraph 30 of his Reasons for Judgement, Justice Greyell found that Councillor Butler “clearly had a direct conflict of interest when she participated in discussion about the [Water Meter] Program” until early March, 2015, Justice Greyell found that Councillor Butler did not have a conflict of interest when she voted on the bylaws, and declined to declare vacant her seat on the City Council.

Mayor Frank Konrad said “The Council accepts the ruling and I am happy we can put this behind us and continue to move forward with the work of the City”.

The City has 30 days to consider whether to appeal Justice Greyell’s decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

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