• John Jantak

Questions asked about legal actions against Saint-Lazare and director salaries


Saint-Lazare council was questioned as to whether Director General Serge Tremblay (pictured), who has been off work on sick leave since last spring, has launched legal action to which the response was a firm ‘no.’

Saint-Lazare resident Richard Meades asked pointed questions about whether there are any legal claims against the city and whether Director General Serge Tremblay – who has been on sick leave since the spring – has taken legal action against the city. He also asked whether council is under investigation by the Ministry of Provincial Affairs.

The questions were posed during the first question period of the monthly council meeting which was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic but live streamed on YouTube on Tuesday evening, October 13. The meeting was presided by District 5 Councillor and Pro-Mayor Richard Chartrand. Mayor Robert Grimaudo was absent.

Legal claims

District 6 Councillor Brian Trainor replied to Meades’ questions confirming there are three legal claims against the city, two from developers and one is a follow-up regarding the construction of the fire station.

The Journal made a recent 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 in response.

Director’s salaries

Meades also inquired about the salaries of the city’s directors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Are all the dozen or so directors still earning $2,500 to $3,000 per week while many of our tax-paying peasants – his word – lose jobs and businesses are struggling to survive both financially and mentally,” said Trainor as he read Meades’ question aloud.

“The answer is the directors are making the same salary they have always been making and are still working as hard as they always have been and therefore are warranted to be paid the same. I find it demeaning that Mr. Meades used the term ‘tax-paying peasants.’ I don’t believe the residents of Saint-Lazare should be referred to as peasants,” replied Trainor.

COVID-19 zones

The town has also sent a request to the provincial Ministry of Health and Social Services to not have Saint-Lazare lumped in as part of the Montérégie or with the Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) when it comes to designating COVID-19 red zones throughout the region.

Saint-Lazare is following the lead that was adopted by Vaudreuil-Dorion last month when Mayor Guy Pilon also contacted the ministry by letter requesting that a special zone be created exclusively for the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

District 1 Councillor Geneviève Lachance said having Saint-Lazare grouped in with either the CMM or the Montérégie does not accurately reflect of the number of cases that are occurring with the MRC. It is also bringing back hardships for restaurants and other businesses that have had to close a second time due to the pandemic.

Different realities

“We’re not at all similar to an urban setting like in Montreal. I also don’t think we’re facing the same realities as they are in Montreal and the Montérégie which is a large area that includes cities like Longueuil,” said Lachance.

“We’re not asking to be put out of the red zone or anything like that. If we follow the statistics that are coming out of Montreal, we would always be in the red zone. It’s frustrating,” Lachance added. “Our restaurants and other businesses are really being affected by this.”