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Coun. Sean Chu back on council committee after year of censure

Ward 4 city councillor Sean Chu is back on city council committee duty.

Chu was added to the Community Development Committee Tuesday, in city council’s annual organizational meeting.

Last year, on the heels of media reports prior to election day of Chu’s involvement with a minor while he was a Calgary police officer, the Ward 4 councillor was prevented from joining any standing policy committees. The vote at that time was 9-6 to take that action.

At that time, newly-elected mayor Jyoti Gondek refused to swear Chu in as a councillor. That duty was left to Justice John Rooke.

According to committee minutes posted to the city’s website, Chu has attended three of 12 Community Development Committee meetings since the last organizational meeting (Nov. 1, 2021). He has also attended five of 15 Infrastructure and Planning Committee meetings.

As a councillor, you’re still allowed to attend committee meetings even if you are not appointed to them.

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, who presented the original motion to have Chu censured last year, raised concern when Chu’s name appeared on the committee list Tuesday.  

“I don’t believe that the reasons that motivated us last year have, in any way, alleviated themselves,” Carra said.

“And, I’m sorry, I have to do that.”

Carra was the lone vote against, as the committee appointment vote carried 14-1.

Carra himself was also not a chair of any committees. He was stripped of his Infrastructure and Planning Committee chair role after sanctions levied against him by the city’s Integrity Commissioner earlier this year.  

That was to be revisited during this year’s organizational meeting.

Coun. Kourtney Penner will continue as chair of the Community Development Committee and Coun. Sonya Sharp will stay on as the chair for the Infrastructure and Planning Committee.

Might as well put him to work: Mayor Gondek

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said that they learned last year there wasn’t much more they could to with Coun. Chu than the ban on being appointed to meetings. They couldn’t force a resignation or remove him from council.

The province also said there was little they could do after he was elected in Ward 4.

“We have been told by the powers that be that we have no ability to remove a member of council,” the mayor told reporters.

“So the options are, don’t give them anything to do and they earn an income, or give them something to do.”