Municipalities of Saskatchewan president caught travelling to Hawaii

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Municipalities of Saskatchewan president caught travelling to Hawaii
WATCH: Municipalities of Saskatchewan said it is disappointed at its president Gordon Barnhart’s decision to travel during the coronavirus pandemic – Jan 8, 2021

The leader of the Municipalities of Saskatchewan (MuniSask) has joined the growing list of elected officials who have travelled abroad over the last few weeks.

Saltcoats mayor and former Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Gordon Barnhart is said to have made his way to Hawaii.

MuniSask, formerly known as the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, held a meeting on Jan. 8 to address his travel and have put out a statement saying it is disappointed to hear about his trip and asking him to respond to members and the public.

Its vice president of towns said the organization doesn’t have bylaws to take away any of Barnhart’s responsibilities.

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“We can’t unelect him as no politician can be unelected. We don’t have spots in cabinet that we can take away. So we’re in a very tough spot, actually,” Rodger Hayward told Global News.

He said the former interim president of the University of Saskatchewan never told him or board members present at the meeting about his travel plans.

News about Barnhart’s trip has at least one mayor contemplating whether to keep his city’s membership for the organization, especially if the president doesn’t resign.

“It’s about leadership and it’s about representation. So we’re going to look at this as how do they represent us? Well, if they don’t step forward and do the right thing, I don’t want to be part of it,” Prince Albert’s Greg Dionne said.

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He noted that Prince Albert is reviewing its membership.

Click to play video: 'SUMA convention looks at shaping urban Saskatchewan'
SUMA convention looks at shaping urban Saskatchewan

Hayward said he expects the issue will be spoken about at MuniSask’s upcoming virtual convention.

The mayor of Naicam said the more municipalities the organization has, the stronger its voice is when working with the provincial government.

“We do have a lot of damage control to do and I’m prepared to step up and make sure we can elay some of those fears and go forward because we need to look after the organization,” Hayward added.

Barnhart’s term is up in February when the organization holds elections at its 2021 virtual convention.

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Global News reached out to the Saltcoats town office for comment, but no one returned our call.

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