Letter to the editor 4, May 2, 2019

Time for Saint-Lazare to move forward

Dear Editor,

The sad reality regarding the council affairs in Saint-Lazare is that Mayor Robert Grimaudo did not - until last week - address the recent resignations of two councillors, Martin Couture and Pamela Tremblay, or the circumstances surrounding those resignations. The mayor’s letter to the editor was his first response to a crisis that sounds like it should have been averted many months before the events of March 5.

The mayor is entrusted with overseeing council – including caucus and council meetings – so that the town, at minimum, carries out its administrative duties, and at best, flourishes under his leadership. I am of the mind that he should bear the bulk of the responsibility if anyone had to resign because of an “unhealthy work environment.”

As a mayor, the behaviour he found “unacceptable and intolerable” should have been raised and acted upon at the time. The escalation and subsequent airing of council’s internal strife should never have played out in the public eye. He neglected his obligation to the town’s citizens by letting this situation rise to crisis status resulting in one, maybe two councillors deciding to resign.

That he is saddened by Ms. Tremblay’s resignation is touching, but I remind him his duty is to ensure a healthy work environment at all times for all his councillors, and to insist on the same of the General Manager and his administration.

Good governance requires strong leadership. In times like this, it is the mayor’s responsibility to show leadership and guide council and the administration through a crisis. He has done nothing of the sort.

In the meantime, the council – without the mayor’s cooperation – has determined the appropriate sanctions for Mr. Chartrand’s behaviour, and issued a statement explaining its decision.

There are probably eight versions to this story. While due consideration should be given to the seriousness of the issues raised, we should not rely on any one person’s interpretation of the events, especially if they have an obvious personal and political interest in the outcome.

On the other hand, vigorous debate is essential to good governance and no one should feel threatened to exercise their voice. The ability of councillors to contribute and have an impact on decision-making should be protected, and any conflict should be appropriately managed by strong leadership.

It is time to turn the page and move forward to do the work of the town.

Mr. Mayor – please assume the role and responsibilities that you were elected for and work to help, not hinder, the path forward.

Corry Terfloth Walker

Saint-Lazare

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