The mayor of Teulon is pushing back amid allegations of behaviour "intended to intimidate, offend, defame and humiliate members of the (town) staff."
A majority of council members say Mayor Debbie Kozyra has failed to put her public duties ahead of her personal opinions. They want her powers handed over to deputy mayor Mike Ledarney via two bylaw amendments.
"The mayor has demonstrated a pattern of behaviour that has been unproductive and unprofessional" since she was elected in the fall of 2018, says a media release posted on the town's website.
It alleges Kozyra has made inaccurate and negative comments in public about town employees and council members; has refused to take action on town business when she personally disagrees with decisions, and has attempted to act on behalf of the town without council's approval.
The motions passed the first of three required readings at Tuesday's council meeting by a 3-2 vote. The next meeting will be Aug. 13, when the amendments could receive both the second and third readings. If successful, Kozyra would remain a council member, and keep the title but would not have mayoral powers.
On Wednesday, Kozyra called the allegations "unfounded and vague."
"I am still the mayor of this community and have been elected by the people," she said.
"Bottom line is, it has only gone through the first reading. It is not in effect... The concerns that are listed in that (media release) were not proven at the council meeting last night."
The mayor said she will ask for Ledarney's resignation at the next meeting because he has breached the council's code of conduct, as he did not have the authority to post the media release on the town website.
Teulon is a town of roughly 1,100, located 50 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
"I have come in to this position with an open and fresh mind to try and do what is best for the citizens of this community and I have been doing that," Kozyra said. "I have been called a bully by Mr. Ledarney in our local newspaper in a letter to the editor. He printed unfounded concerns because I responded to an article initiated by the press and I told the truth.
"Somehow, that's been construed as a verbal attack on our (chief administrative officer). I'm probably the worst politician you can have because I'm too honest."
On top of the proposed bylaw changes, the five-member council put forth a pair of resolutions prohibiting Kozyra from communicating directly with town staff and requiring the mayor to immediately stop "a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, defame and humiliate members of the staff."
"Our council, while I've been there, we've never had something like this," said Ledarney, a Teulon council member for 16 years.
"It's been really hard for many months... We haven't been able to move forward on any real issue in the last eight months. We've been revisiting past issues and it's been emotionally draining on most of us. It just got to the point that we decided we needed to take some type of action. This is what the majority decided on."
Ledarney said the bylaw amendments are "a last resort, after several attempts to work together were unsuccessful."
"There's a rumour out there that we're trying to get rid of the mayor. That's not the case; we're just trying to move forward with being able to serve the public and we haven't been able to do that for the past eight months."
Ashley works the general assignment beat.