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Coun. Farkas staff member took leave outside Canada over Christmas

A junior staffer with Coun. Jeromy Farkas travelled outside of Canada during the holiday, he confirmed.

Coun. Farkas told LiveWire Calgary he originally approved the vacation time but wasn’t aware of the person’s specific travel plans. He said he became aware of it afterwards.

On Tuesday, Mayor Naheed Nenshi revealed that two of his staff members also travelled outside Canada over the holidays. The mayor took no further action against those staff members.

Earlier, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney demoted several MLAs and accepted the resignation of his chief of staff after they confirmed travel outside of Canada over Christmas.  

Coun. Farkas believed this was the right decision by the Premier.

“The anger is rightfully directed to the people in positions of power, telling the public to do one thing and going on to do the opposite,” Coun. Farkas said.

“I think the big issue here is the hypocrisy. The same politicians who told you to cancel Christmas went off and had a good time of their own.”

Coun. Farkas said that he didn’t have family over and did not visit family during the Christmas holiday. He said he believes it’s important to set a strong example for others.

Mayor’s staff travel

The optics for the mayor’s office, Coun. Farkas said was that Mayor Nenshi was one of the people at the forefront of lockdowns and the face mask bylaw extension. His staff took the vacations outside Canada.

Mayor Nenshi said Tuesday that he should have pushed harder on the vacation time of his staff.

“I really wish I’d done that I didn’t do that. And I’m really sorry. I deeply regret that I didn’t do that,” he said.

Coun. Farkas said it was up to the mayor’s office to decide how to handle their internal affairs. He wouldn’t say whether the mayor made the right decision in not handing down any further consequence.

“I think if the mayor took it out on a staff, that would be him avoiding responsibility and trying to throw others under the bus,” he said.

While Coun. Farkas isn’t dismissing his admin worker, they are not collecting pay for the duration of their quarantine.

“I would think that’s unacceptable for taxpayers to pay for that,” Coun. Farkas said.

“They definitely will not be collecting pay during that period. And that is a disciplinary measure.”