• John Jantak

Hawa casts deciding vote to retain Ste. Anne’s administrative assistant


Mayor Paola Hawa cast the deciding vote to renew the contract for the city’s administrative assistant at the January 19 council meeting after the four sitting councillors split the vote evenly. District 2 Councillor Ryan Young and District 4 Councillor Daniel Boyer voted to renew the contract, and District 5 Councillor Yvan Labelle and District 6 Councillor Michel Boudreault voted against the renewal.

A resolution to renew the contract for Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s administrative assistant prompted Mayor Paola Hawa to cast the deciding vote in favour of retaining the position. City council split the vote evenly between two councillors who voted in favour of renewing the contract, and two others who voted against the resolution during the Monday evening council meeting, January 19.

District 2 Councillor Ryan Young and District 4 Councillor Daniel Boyer voted to renew the contract, while District 5 Councillor Yvan Labelle and District 6 Councillor Michel Boudreault voted against the renewal. District 1 Councillor Dana Chevalier and District 3 Councillor Andrée Deschamps were absent.

After the meeting, all the councillors present provided their viewpoints to Your Local Journal as to why they voted the way they did. For Labelle and Boudreault, both agreed that the city should have looked at other options including using current personnel to provide the required administrative services instead of having a dedicated person fulfill the responsibilities the position entails.

“I think it’s a necessary position but there is some rationalization that we need to do first before committing more tax dollars,” said Labelle. “We need to do our due diligence regarding the hiring process before making a commitment.” Boudreault concurred with Labelle’s assessment. “I voted against it because I think that before adopting this contract, we should optimize the staff we already have.

I’m convinced personally that there are a lot of people working at city hall who can do the job the administrative assistant is doing. With the staff we have right now, we don’t need that position,” said Boudreault. But for Young and Boyer, the administrative assistant position is necessary to ease the workload that both Hawa and the city’s Director General Martin Bonhomme have to deal with on a daily basis so they can concentrate on their primary responsibilities in order to ensure the city runs efficiently.

“The issue for me is that as much as I want to streamline the administration at City Hall, I also want to be very conscious of the fact that whenever we all make a decision regarding keeping or cutting a position, that in doing so, we will not compromise the services we provide to our citizens,” said Boyer. “In this particular situation, when you look at the money aspect, that’s one thing, but when you consider our citizens, I feel it wouldn’t be beneficial for that position to be eliminated,” added Boyer.

“This particular position is important because it provides administrative support for the mayor and for the Director General as well. The administrative assistant also fields a lot of calls that come in from citizens.” According to Young, the position was first established during the tenure of the previous mayor, Francis Deroo, to help offset the mayor’s and director general’s workload in order to allow them to focus exclusively on the important municipal issues that predominate their time.

Young added he’s not aware of any municipality on the Island of Montreal that doesn’t have an administrative assistant and said it’s imperative that the city maintain the position considering its diverse mix of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional properties. “I find it laughable that anyone would question the need for an administrative assistant when you’re the mayor of a town like Ste. Anne de Bellevue with a lot of important dossiers and when you have to deal with different levels of government,” said Young.

“The mayor is also very active in a lot of different committees and commissions such as the Agglomeration of Montreal,” Young added. “I also wouldn’t want to waste the Director General’s valuable time doing things that an administrative assistant could do.”

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