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Deer Lake council votes on conflict of interest question

Spence.
Spence. - Star file photo

A conflict of interest allegation against a Deer Lake councillor was put to rest on Monday night when her fellow councillors voted on a motion to say Myra Spence was not in a conflict of interest when she voted to approve an application for a crematorium in the town.

The allegation came after it was revealed her husband’s company, Dan Spence Refrigeration Ltd., had been listed on a contractor information sheet as part of the application for the project submitted by Dave Parsons, owner of Parsons Funeral Home. Parsons is also a member of the council.

Spence was not in the room when the motion was presented and voted on.

Following the meeting, Mayor Dean Ball said council wanted to make it clear to Spence that she’s done nothing wrong.

“She’s taken a lot of undue abuse from some residents and they’re wrong, they are wrong, she did nothing wrong.”

During the meeting Ball said the vote came about after reviewing the issue under the Municipalities Act and in consultation with Municipal Affairs. Council held a hearing on the matter and in the end the motion was made at the public meeting.

Spence stepped out of the council chambers while the vote took place.

During discussion on the motion Ball said Spence and a number of members of council had no idea her husband’s company had been listed.

Ball also said that not every piece of information is passed down to council from the committee.

But that will change as Ball said from now on all information would be made available to all of council.

“And hopefully that will stop anything like that from happening again.”

The conflict of interest vote was not the only one related to the crematorium that took place Monday.

Coun. Kerry Jones, who chairs the town’s environment and housing committee, asked for an amendment to the committee’s meeting minutes for Sept. 20 and Oct. 12.

Parsons is a member of the committee and minutes for those meetings did not reflect that he stepped out during discussions on the application. Council passed the motion to change the minutes to reflect that he did.

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