Peachland mayor wants censured councillor to resign | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Peachland mayor wants censured councillor to resign

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/District of Peachland
August 07, 2021 - 6:00 PM

As far as Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin is concerned, a confrontation between Peachland Coun. Pete Coolio and CAO Joe Mitchell in June has led to the wrong man resigning.

The June 16 meeting between the two men happened outside of regular business hours, Fortin told iNFOnews.ca.

As she understands it, Coolio, a realtor, was upset about the time it was taking to get permits approved for a deck that had been built illegally on a property he was involved in the sale of.

While there may not have been actual threats made during the meeting, the fact that Coolio reminded Mitchell that he was a councillor and did a lot for the community while pressuring Mitchell to sign a document Coolio had brought with him, definitely crossed the line, Fortin said.

She was also concerned that Coolio suggested to Mitchell at the end of the meeting that the meeting never happened.

Coolio has denied some of Mitchell’s allegations, Fortin said. Coolio did not return calls from iNFOnews.ca.

Council censured Coolio for his actions and forced him to apologize but did not ask him to resign.

READ MORE: Peachland councillor censured for pressuring district manager to approve unpermitted deck

“I personally believe that a person is elected to office by the people, and they have to make that decision,” Fortin said. “If it was my choice, I would prefer that he resign.”

Instead, Mitchell tendered his resignation on July 15. He had served as CAO since November 2019 and was the district’s director of operations for seven years before that.

Fortin cannot say for sure why Mitchell resigned but believes this incident was a major factor.

“It was definitely one of the last straws that made Joe rethink his career choice,” Fortin said. “He was pretty shaken up by it and very nervous and uncomfortable about it and had some sleepless nights over this and a few other things. I think that all compounded to a point that he felt he needed to resign. I don’t know that. You’ll have to ask him.”

Mitchell did not return calls for comment from iNFOnews.ca.

Fortin indicated there were a number of things that led to Mitchell’s resignation but would not elaborate or say whether they involved Coolio.

“Joe is a fantastic CAO,” Fortin said. “Everybody just loves him. It was pretty heartbreaking to get his resignation.”

Municipal staff are trained to respect civic officials so, to be put in this kind of position is very uncomfortable for them, Fortin said.

As for the apology letter that Coolio was forced to write, it was pretty “skinny,” Fortin said.

“It just said I apologize for my actions,” she said.

Council is banning Coolio from attending conferences and seminars as a community representative.

“We censured him on a lot of things but he really doesn’t attend many committee meetings or public events,” Fortin said. “He doesn’t go to (Union of B.C. Municipalities) or any of those seminars so, that part wouldn’t have been too painful to him. He comes to council meetings but he’s probably got one of the worst attendance records. But that’s neither here nor there. That’s not why this happened. At the end of the day, he crossed the line here and made the CAO completely uncomfortable and worried.”


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