The day after Calgary Mayor Naheed Neshi admitted that two of his office staff travelled internationally, a mayoral hopeful revealed that one of his staff members also left the country during the holiday break.
“I’m aware that staff in a junior position traveled out of the country on their own time and at their own expense,” Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas told Global News.
Sources tell Global News the staff member travelled to Colombia.
“While I would not have gone, they are complying with all of the regulations in place and observing testing and quarantine protocols,” Farkas said Wednesday.
“I would only sanction them if this quarantine would interfere with their ability to do their job. And I’m not expecting that to happen in a work-from-home environment.”
Following the interview with Global News, Farkas said the staff member will not be receiving pay during their quarantine period.
While it is legal, Calgarian taxpayers should not be on the hook for my staff member to isolate. I stayed home for Christmas and did not see family. Regardless of others' actions, I am responsible and accountable for my team. I am sorry. 2/2 #yyccc
— Jeromy Farkas (@JeromyYYC) January 6, 2021
Farkas said he personally stayed at home and did not have any family over nor did he go to visit family for Christmas.
“The big thing for me is personal responsibility, is complying with the regulations and the laws that are in place.”
The Ward 11 councillor said he “fully expects” Calgarians and Albertans to hold elected officials — especially those who put in place regulations during the coronavirus pandemic — accountable for any extra-provincial travel.
“But when it comes to these junior positions or just everyday people who are not in charge or in control of these regulations, I think that they have to do their best, just like everybody else, to comply with the regulations and laws that are in place,” he said.
Global News asked all other city councillors whether they were aware if their staff travelled during the holiday break. Nearly all of the councillors responded saying none of their staff left the province. Only the Ward 2 office of Coun. Joe Magliocca didn’t respond at press time.
–with files from Adam MacVicar
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.