Former Hudson employee takes council to task over statement
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Former Parks and Recreation Director Michael Klaiman asked Hudson Town Council to clarify its February meeting minutes to correct what was called an ‘unauthorized’ commitment made in 2012 concerning the purchase of playground equipment at Mount Pleasant Elementary School.
St. Lazare resident Michael Klaiman, former Parks and Recreation Director for the Town of Hudson, brought to the council’s attention at the March 7 meeting that a statement made at the last regular meeting, and minuted as such, was incorrect.
“There was a direct statement made at that meeting that there was an unauthorized commitment by the 2012 Recreation Director and it is incorrect,” said Klaiman, referring to Item 10.1 on the agenda for the February 1 meeting regarding the purchase of outdoor equipment for the Mount Pleasant School playground that is also used by the public. He said he had communicated with the administration by registered letter and was seeking confirmation that the statement would be dealt with in the minutes of the current meeting.
Klaiman was referring to the preamble of the resolution passed by council at the February 1 meeting. It states Director of Culture and Tourism Nicholas Pedneault received an email from the Lester B. Pearson School Board project manager with an attached letter of intent dated March 29, 2012. The letter is described as having been sent by the former Director of Parks and Recreation with a copy to the former Director General.
The letter was sent to Pedneault as background to the school board’s request for financial support for the purchase of playground equipment for Mount Pleasant School at a cost of either $25,000 or 33 per cent of the project, whichever was less. The resolution duly stated the letter of intent should not have been sent by a town employee not authorized to do so and further said a resolution must be passed by council in advance of agreeing to the letter of intent. The resolution also said the town must ensure they can now legally fulfill the request after the fact. Council voted to support the funding of the equipment and that the money should come from the 2016 budget.
Director General Jean-Pierre Roy responded that the minutes from the February 1 meeting had not been officially adopted at this meeting and that he apologized on behalf of the council and the administration for the statement. In effect, at the beginning of the regular meeting on Monday March 7, the minutes of February 1 could not be found and were conditionally adopted only on them being found. “We have had a bit of a hiccup,” said Mayor Ed Prévost adding that he had seen the minutes but they couldn’t be located in time for the meeting.
During an interview Wednesday, March 9, Prévost confirmed that a formal retraction of the statement Klaiman was referring to will be made. The errant minutes, however, had not yet been located. Prévost said Town Clerk Vincent Maranda has been away from work this week and that has not helped the situation.
The minutes of a special council meeting held Monday, February 29, were approved. It came to light later in the meeting that the subject matter was the refinancing of the $4,147,000 debt. “We locked in at 2.3 per cent for five years,” said Councillor Ron Goldenberg.
The mayor addressed the issue of property evaluations for taxation by the Municipalité Régionale de Comté de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) during his opening remarks noting that representatives from the firm Les Estimateurs Professionnels Leroux, Beaudry, Picard & Associés Inc., the company that carried out the evaluations for the MRC-VS, would be on-hand Tuesday, March 10, for pre-arranged meetings with individual property owners. Prévost also said that a public presentation would take place at 7 p.m. the same day. By Tuesday 6:30 p.m., the presentation event had been cancelled. Prévost said he was unaware of the reasons for the event’s cancellation.
A preliminary report from the Pine Lake Committee was deposited with the council with scant details. “We have a report that gives us various alternatives on the Pine Lake situation. We are going to study it for a month,” Goldenberg said after reading the resolution.
Also on the topic of Pine Lake, Council approved a formal request to the MRC-VS for dredging and maintenance as the county has jurisdiction over the waterways of the region.
Council’s decision to replace 20 feet of storm sewer pipe on Bellevue Street brought a round of applause from residents including Tracy Gallacher who had raised the issue during the first question period. “It’s taken almost six years,” said Gallacher after the meeting referring to the number of times the problem has been brought to the attention of the council and administration. The cost of the project is estimated at less than $5000.
Application for a $1.6 million TECQ grant available to the Town of Hudson through the Ministère des Affaires Municipales et Occupation du territoire ( MAMOT) from the provincial excise tax on gasoline was also approved by council. “We have to meet certain criteria to receive that money,” said Goldenberg adding that the grant applies to infrastructure projects completed before the end of 2018.
Council also approved a new Call for Tenders opening on March 14 for the repair of the Bradbury well. This is the second time that tender process has been initiated for the project due to irregularities in the previous tenders according to DG Roy.
Financial support was approved for upcoming events in the town. The Hudson 2016 Car Show in July received $3000 and the Spring Fling event – “A Time and Place where art meets nature” – from May 6 to June 6 was awarded $5000. Councillor Natalie Best said the event involves local artisans and craft people and is expected to draw visitors to the town.
Although there were no dollar figures attached to the project, Councillor Barbara Robinson announced the Hudson Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion plans to restore and repair the Cenotaph with plans to be filed with the Town Planning Advisory Committee (TPAC).