Fred Salerno to continue duties on Pilot Butte council while case is adjudicated
Town of Pilot Butte Councillor Fred Salerno was charged on Sept. 27 under an influence peddling section of the Criminal Code.
A spokesperson with the White Butte RCMP confirmed Salerno was charged under Section 125, subsection B. According to the Government of Canada’s website, that section reads: “Every person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who … (b) solicits, recommends or negotiates in any manner with respect to an appointment to or resignation from an office, in expectation of a direct or indirect reward, advantage or benefit.”
Further details on the charge were not available at press time. Salerno is deemed innocent unless the charge is tested in Court and a verdict of guilty is reached by a judge or jury. Reached by phone, Salerno confirmed the charge has been read in court and legal proceedings have started.
“It’s a pretty simple case and we will have to let it play out in court and show it for what it is,” Salerno said. “To say anything now, if you try things in the public, courts frown on that substantially because its usurping the court.”
While the case is adjudicated, Salerno remains a full member of Pilot Butte Council, Mayor Peggy Chorney said. As such, he is not required to recuse himself from any proceeding or activity of Council.
“We have a court system, where you are innocent until proven guilty,” Chorney said. “He can hold his seat and can continue to do so unless deemed guilty. Nobody is removed from Council (for being charged). Councillors remain active. It’s business as usual. … in my life experience, this is a unique situation.”
Chorney added Salerno will still have access to, “all information any of the rest of us have.” This includes regular Council information, correspondence, and briefing packages prepared by administration in advance of meetings.
When asked to comment on the charges, Chorney said: “Any time there are charges, it’s concerning. Anyone would be concerned. I just want to be sure that the legal process is followed, and an outcome will result, and we will go from there.”
Chorney was reluctant to comment further as the matter is before the courts.