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REPORTING · 21st March 2011
Merv Ritchie
It turns out the Mayor of Fort St John, Bruce Lantz, was not being completely honest when he spoke publicly about his drinking troubles with his Council and his position as Mayor. In a document we received today, it appears the Mayor missed a meeting of the Northwest Corridor Development Corporation (NCDC) in Leduc Alberta, held during the first three days of March in 2010.

The communication explains how Lantz called the Executive Director and explained he would not be able to make the meeting due to a death in the family and was then later observed in the lounge of the Hotel. When he was contacted to confirm the details, so the City could cover the expenses on compassionate grounds, Lantz apparently asked for all the bills to be sent to him directly. The City had covered the expenses relating to this meeting as well as the costs for a subsequent missed meeting of the Chamber of Commence, totaling over $1000, with the City credit card.

Lantz claimed in his public statement his drinking problem has never interfered with his role as Mayor, “At no time has this issue prevented me from doing my job."

Read our original story, with the text of the imposed sanctions, here.

What has yet to be explained is why his Council has specifically sanctioned Lantz from being alone with any female member of the City Staff. Was this act of playing hooky from the NCDC and Chamber meetings in a Hotel lounge accompanied by an act of unfaithfulness to his girlfriend? And was this with a “Female employee of the City” who accompanied Lantz to Leduc? This may be wild conjecture and the Fort St John Administrative staff attempted to make it clear there was a complaint made against Lantz but no names or gender were released as no charges were laid, “Unless charges are laid she wouldn’t likely want her name released,” we were told this afternoon.

Some questions remain unanswered, however what is clear is how this NE BC Mayor misled the citizenry of Fort St John. Sitting in a Hotel Lounge rather than attending an important meeting related to the economic well being of the region appears on the surface to be ‘an issue preventing him from doing his job’. Some residents are now opening calling for Mayor Lantz to resign immediately before he brings more disgrace to the City.

“Mayor Lantz has lied to all of us in his apology speech and in fact he did not even actually apologise to the citizens he was elected to represent. […] the lie he made and the Council minutes which exhibit this. Mayor Lantz needs to resign or be removed for the good of Fort St. John.”

In email communications today with Lantz he refers to all of this as a “libelous piece of filth” asking us which Chamber meeting he missed.

We then copied the text of the City communication and specified the time frame of the Chamber meeting. We asked if he would confirm or deny the allegations; was there a death in the family and are the statements made in the text accurate? He has since stopped communicating. (40 minutes after we posted this story Lantz wrote; "I will email you shortly. I'm driving at the moment.") We still await his clarification of the events surrounding the sanctioning of his activities, those which now require a personal chaperone.

Below is a copy of the text in a memo from the City Manager of Fort St John, dated March 12, 2010.

The Mayor was authorized by virtue of his appointment to the NCDC Board, to attend the NCDC Board meeting on March 1, 2 and 3rd meeting in Leduc, AB. The Mayor traveled to the meeting however I was advised by the Executive Director that the Mayor had emailed him and advised that he was unable to attend the meeting due to a “death in the family”. I contacted the Mayor to determine the circumstances so that I could prepare a report to Council regarding covering expenses on the grounds of compassionate consideration. The Mayor instructed the Executive Assistant to bill all charges relating to the trip directly to him. Subsequent to that direction, I was further advised that the Mayor was present in lounge of the hotel on the evening of March 1st however he did not attend any of the NCDC meeting. The Mayor has not provided any explanation as to his inability to attend the meeting.

Costs to attend the NCDC meeting and subsequent BC Chamber of Commerce meeting resulted in a total of $1,019.46 being charged to the City’s credit card.

Tomorrow, March 22, BC Premier Christy Clark will be in Fort St John with Peace River North MLA, Pat Pimm, Blair Lekstrom, Mike de Jong and Rich Colemen. This will be BC’s new Premiers first open Town Hall meeting. The current Mayor of Fort St John is off on a personal break for at least three days and our contact reports he is in Kelowna, no where near Fort St John.
local news
Comment by m.b.weston on 23rd March 2011
Would it be too much to ask to focus on local news? Peace River is a ways away from the northwest and we have lots of issues here we would like to hear more about.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 22nd March 2011
So why is there no Recall option for municipal officials?
Investigate the Politicians
Comment by Maggie on 22nd March 2011
It may be worthwhile for the Terrace Daily to do more investigations into the activities and qualifications of other small town mayors in the NorthWest. Some of the revelations may be very interesting to the public who elected them.