Mayor Shari Decter Hirst and other city officials did not break any rules when they accepted free flights from WestJet Encore for the inaugural Calgary to Brandon trip, according Brandon city clerk Con Arvisais.
Since the major celebration happened earlier this week to welcome the airline to Brandon, questions about the trip have surfaced, with some people wondering whether there was an ethical issue in taking the freebie.
“I have reviewed the Code of Conduct for members of council and the Code of Ethics for employees and cannot identify any contravention of these codes in relation to the WestJet inaugural flight,” Arvisais wrote in an email to the Brandon Sun.
Decter Hirst, along with city manager Scott Hildebrand and economic development director Sandy Trudel, were part of the local contingent who went to Calgary on the evening of Labour Day to be there for the first flight to Brandon on Tuesday morning.
Hildebrand told the Sun earlier this week that he was disappointed “such a positive event is turning into a negative.”
The trip was “simply business,” economic development and being a part of a ceremony in Calgary prior to takeoff, he said.
The city covered the cost for the three Brandon representatives to fly from Winnipeg to Calgary, as well as other travel costs such as hotel rooms and meals. The total cost was $1,475.
The flight back to Brandon was covered by WestJet, according to the mayor.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 7, 2013