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Signatures being collected to urge province to step into ongoing woes at Medicine Hat city hall

Medicine Hat’s mayor and city council continue to butt heads, and that has some residents asking the province to step in.

Signatures are being collected for a letter that will be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, asking for an investigation into the municipal government for what organizers call “a lack of transparency and failure to lead.”

The ministry says it is not prepared to order an investigation, but “would consider such an action, should electors of the city be able to meet the established legislative requirements with respect to initiating a petition for a municipal inspection.”

Last month, Medicine Hat city council voted to suspend Mayor Linnsie Clark’s presiding duties, slash her pay and limit her contact with city staff and the city manager to email only.

The sanctions came after an August exchange with city manager Ann Mitchell.

A third-party report concluded Clark breached the code of conduct by failing to treat Mitchell with courtesy, dignity and respect.

Clark has said, “I do not agree with the decision of council and I’m seeking judicial review.”

Documents and emails the mayor released on social media show this dispute has been ongoing for months.

Lawyers for the city manager even threatened to sue the mayor for defamation last year.

Clark says she believes the judicial review could start as early as this summer, but it will take months.

The petition, meanwhile, needs to be signed by electors equal to 20 per cent of the city’s population.

Medicine Hat currently has a population of close to 70,000.

With files by Damien Wood and Jordan Kanygin

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