Hudson hires Interim Treasurer/Director General
PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO
Former Director of Finance and Information with the Town of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Jacques Lemieux has been hired as the interim Treasurer and Director General for the Town of Hudson.
The Town of Hudson has hired an individual to fill the vacant positions of interim Director General and Treasurer following the suspension of former DG Catherine Haulard and resignation of Ramin Jawanda, though securing the employment was not the decision of a unified council. In an emergency council meeting held Monday, March 23, council passed the motion to engage the services of Jacques Lemieux for a three month short-term contract to carry out the duties of both positions.
Lemieux retired from a 30-year career as Director of Finance and Information with the Town of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and has spent a year as Assistant Director General with the Conférence régionale des élus Vallée-du-Haut-Saint- Laurent.
The motion was voted on and approved at the March 23 meeting by four of the six councillors – District 1 Councillor Robert Spencer was unable to attend and District 2 Councillor Ron Goldenberg exited the meeting after approximately 10 minutes, citing frustration over communication breakdown within the council.
“I was upset with the way things were being done,” Goldenberg told Your Local Journal. “There was an amendment to the (meeting) agenda. Instead of saying we were hiring an interim treasurer, it said we were hiring an interim director general and treasurer.” Goldenberg also expressed frustration that despite his 30-plus years’ experience as a Chartered Professional Accountant, and his position as the head of the town’s finance committee, he was not part of the interview process and was not informed of Lemieux’s dual role.
“On the one hand, I wanted to stay at the meeting and vote against the whole proposition,” said Goldenberg, stating he was uncomfortable with leaving but felt it was the right thing to do at the time. “On the other hand, I didn’t want to be part of it. I didn’t know if (the hiring process) was legal or not.”
Goldenberg stressed his displeasure is not a reflection on Lemieux or his qualifications. Reached before going to press March 25, Mayor Ed Prévost confirmed Goldenberg was not contacted due to his, “going against the momentum of council,” and stressed what’s best for the Town of Hudson takes precedence over whether a councillor takes offense to the mayor’s decisions.
“I know I did the right thing.” Prévost met with Lemieux along with councillors Nicole Durand and Natalie Best and described his knowledge and skill level as being ‘overwhelming.’
“From a legal point of view, it’s essential that we have a treasurer,” said Prévost explaining why council acted so quickly. “We can’t issue cheques without one according to the Cities and Towns Act,” he said. “We didn’t have any choice. The town was caught in a state of paralysis and we couldn’t pay our suppliers.”
Prévost said in the future the town will stipulate the treasurer must give at least a month’s notice before leaving. In Jawanda’s case, the amount of notice required was two weeks. The mayor said Lemieux would help council draft detailed job descriptions for the positions of treasurer and director general.
Lemieux is well versed in the details of the Cities and Towns Act, according to Prévost, and has given training programs to municipal councillors and public administrators on the subject. “He knows MAMOT (Ministère d’Affaires Municipales et Occupation du territoire) inside out,” said the mayor.
Regarding the former Director General Catherine Haulard, Prévost said, “We offered her the opportunity to return to work after her suspension on March 9, 11 and 13. She did not come back so we have since decided that must mean that she is resigning from her position.”
However, Prévost confirmed that Haulard has not submitted a letter of resignation. “I know we have received a request to appear before the Canadian Labor Relations Board,” said the mayor in reference to the legal situation with Haulard. The meeting is scheduled for the end of April but could be moved to June.