Hudson holds a special meeting – and no one shows up
YLJ FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO
On Monday, October 17, Hudson town council held a special meeting at Halcro Cottage that appeared so mysterious at least one attendee wondered if they knew the employees being discussed.
The meeting, which lasted about 11 minutes, was open to the public.
But to the surprise of council members, who said they expected an audience, no residents showed up. A council meeting regular later told Your Local Journal she wasn’t aware of the meeting.
The town posted public notices dated Friday, October 14, both inside town hall and in a glass case outside the town hall building. No information about the special meeting appeared on the town’s website.
Director General Jean-Pierre Roy said information was not posted on the website in order to respect the privacy of town employees.
From the information presented at the meeting, it’s difficult to know the identities of the employees affected, because very little about them was revealed when councillors presented, and unanimously approved, resolutions.
“Out of respect for the employees concerned, we use numbers to designate them,” DG Roy explained during the meeting’s question period.
Roy said the town’s policy is not to reveal the names of the employees concerned. “We are allowed to do that. It’s a rule of the art in our domain not to say that.”
“It’s mostly out of respect for the individuals involved,” said Mayor Ed Prévost.
Concerning the dismissal of employee Nº 761, Councillor Deborah Woodhead read, “Considering confidential administrative memoir Nº MVH-497 describing the investigation carried out by the law firm Dunton Rainville, the human resources committee and general management, considering the letter of termination attached to the aforementioned memoir, it’s moved by Councillor Deborah Woodhead and seconded by Councillor Natalie Best and resolved to dismiss employee Nº 761…”
Similar wording appeared in a resolution moved by Councillor Nicole Durand and seconded by Councillor Ron Goldenberg, which mentioned a confidential administrative memoir, an investigation carried out by Dunton Rainville, the HR committee and general management and letters of suspension for employees Nº 252 and Nº 552, who were suspended without pay for 10 days.
“We’re not going to divulge the names of any of these,” said Prévost who would also not reveal whether the employees were unionized or their respective departments.
“This is unfortunate. As a rule, we don’t believe in running organizations with people in them by emitting suspensions and dismissal notices. That’s no way to run a ship but sometimes, it has to be done.” Mayor Prévost referred to the ‘culture of entitlement’ he says was long present in the everyday workings of the town. “We’re still hitting ourselves against that culture.”
It appeared the employees would learn their fate the day after the special meeting.
“They don’t know that they’re dismissed, they don’t know they’re sanctioned,” said Councillor Goldenberg. “These people don’t know yet what’s happened, they’ll find out tomorrow morning. Legally we have to pass it formally as a resolution at the council before we can go ahead and do that.”
DG Roy said employees can speak about town decisions unless they have a non-disclosure agreement with the town. “We cannot control others,” Roy said. “We can’t control all staff.”
“We don’t make these decisions lightly, obviously,” said Mayor Prévost. “Clearly we don’t intend to run the management group at the town hall by issuing suspensions and dismissals and all of that. Our preferred choice would be just to make sure everybody’s happy, productive, and cheerful.”