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Town manager suspended over Fort McMurray tweet

Posted on May 11, 2016 by Taber Times

By Nick Kuhl
Southern Alberta Newspapers – Lethbridge

It’s 2016. Be careful what you post on the Internet.

For Tom Moffatt, the Town of Taber’s Information Technology Manager, and a former local NDP candidate, a tweet posted Tuesday night may cost him his job.

Moffatt has been suspended by Taber town council pending an investigation over “Karmic” comments made about the ongoing wildfire in Fort McMurray. The story has since attracted national media attention in the wake of council’s decision.

At a special meeting of council Friday night, council passed the following resolution: “Moved by Councillor Sparks that Mr. Tom Moffatt be suspended until further notice pending an investigation into comments made on social media regarding the Fort McMurray tragedy.”
The motion was carried unanimously.

Moffat posted May 3 on his private Twitter account: “Karmic #climatechange fire burns CDN oilsands city.”

The tweet was later deleted but it was screen captured and shared widely across the Internet.

Moffat posted this on Wednesday: “My apologies 4 a recent tweet interpreted as attacking people in Fort Mac. Not my intent. These people have my full support & sympathy.”

The Lethbridge Public Library Board, of which Moffat is a member, condemned the original post.

In a statement, they said: “The Lethbridge Public Library Board wishes to unequivocally state that a tweet sent yesterday by volunteer library board member Tom Moffatt, on a personal account and concerning his view on the Fort McMurray fire, does not in any manner reflect the view of the Lethbridge Public Library Board or the Lethbridge Public Library staff or volunteers.”

Mayor Henk DeVlieger was unable to be reached for comment on town council’s decision.

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