Former Saint-Lazare DG Serge Tremblay retires
By Carmen Marie Fabio and John Jantak
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK
Following an official sanction in March of this year in which the former Director General of Saint-Lazare was accused of ‘inadequate management of files under his governance,’ Serge Tremblay this week announced his official retirement following an extended medical leave.
After almost 10 months of talks with the Town of Saint-Lazare, former Director General Serge Tremblay announced this week he will be taking his retirement.
“Mr. Tremblay was a very competent town manager,” said Mayor Robert Grimaudo. “He was devoted to the town, available seven-days-a-week, 24-hours a day. His management skills were over and above anybody else that I know.”
As reported in The Journal March 19, 2020, a special council meeting was held to vote on a resolution to bring an official sanction against Tremblay. The resolution, read by Town Clerk Nathaly Rayneault, stated, “The Director General has been informed in writing in recent months of several shortcomings in his behaviour towards members of the municipal council, and with regard to his treatment of several files under his supervision.” The resolution continued to say, “The bond of trust necessary between a Director General and the members of the municipal council is very seriously shaken, given the unacceptable actions of the Director General and his inadequate management of the files under his governance.” No specific details were provided. The resolution outlined that the DG would have two weeks to submit a written action plan detailing how he intended to, “…permanently correct” his behaviour and management of files, in a, “…spirit of collaboration and healthy communications with the council.”
Though the motion was agreed upon by the majority of council, Mayor Grimaudo said he felt the action was not justified and that he was seeing it for the first time that day. He added that after seven years of working with Tremblay, he felt the town was well-managed and that the DG was appreciated by his employees. Grimaudo further commented that he was saddened this should be the priority of council in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Politics should never override the health and welfare of the people and the loved ones that surround us.” Council responded that they had been working on this issue long before the pandemic outbreak. Grimaudo voted against the reprimand and Tremblay went on medical leave a day later.
Town denies legal action taken
At the October 13 council meeting, a resident asked if Tremblay had taken legal action against the city to which the response was a firm ‘no.’ While there were three other legal claims against the city, Councillor Brian Trainor said two were from developers and one was a follow-up regarding the construction of the fire station.
At the time, The Journal made a request under the provincial Access to Information Act to the town to obtain documents related to payments made to the legal firm Municonseil Avocats totalling $6,925.67. The documents were heavily redacted with all names blacked out citing ‘confidentiality.’
“As to whether the Director General has taken legal action against the city – no. As to whether the city is under investigation, the answer is investigations are not public and therefore I will comment no further,” said Trainor.
Special council meeting
During special council meeting held November 25 and streamed on YouTube, the five sitting councillors unanimously voted to accept Tremblay’s resignation.
“I am sad for the town that we lost such a good town manager,” Grimaudo said in a follow-up interview, “But at the same time, I’m happy for him that he will be enjoying a very long and nice retirement.”
When asked for comment on Tremblay’s retirement announcement this week, Councillor Trainor said, “We had agreed that we would not comment on the matter and I’m disappointed the mayor would make public comments on such a sensitive issue.”
Archival information from Nick Zacharias