Town Hall Keeps Sus­pen­sion a Se­cret?

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Made­line Mul­hol­land Stanstead

At

its last reg­u­lar meet­ing on Jan­uary 9th, Stanstead’s Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil dis­missed a town em­ployee ‘for cause’. The em­ployee, re­ferred to by em­ployee num­ber, not name, was dis­missed in a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion by coun­cil. No ex­pla­na­tion for the dis­missal was pro­vided at the time of the vote, and at yes­ter­day’s spe­cial meet­ing, the town re­fused to com­ment on the mat­ter. The fol­low­ing morning, on Jan­uary 10th, the Stanstead

Jour­nal vis­ited the res­i­dence of Stanstead’s Mu­nic­i­pal In­spec­tor, Mr. Stanislav Korolev. We then learned that he had trav­elled to Rus­sia on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 24th, and was only due to re­turn on Jan­uary 14th. We also learned that Mr. Korolev had made the travel plans well in ad­vance, ad­vis­ing his land­lord of the trip dates some­time in Novem­ber, 2011.

He was sched­uled to re­turn to work on Mon­day, Jan­uary 16th. On that morning the Jour­nal con­tacted Town Hall to speak with Mr. Korolev, only to be told he had not yet come to work. We were as­sured he would be con­tacted im­me­di­ately with a re­quest to con­tact the Jour­nal, and was later told he had been ad­vised. The Jour­nal re­ceived no call from the in­spec­tor, but shortly there­after a call was re­ceived from the Gen­eral Man­ager, Mr. Guil­laume Labbé, who, in a voice mes­sage, re­ferred to our call to the in­spec­tor and of­fered to speak with us in­stead. In a sub­se­quent in­ter­view with the in­spec­tor, Mr. Korolev de­nies hav­ing re­ceived any mes­sage from Town Hall that the Jour­nal had tried to con­tact him.

Mr. Korolev was then con­tacted by the Jour­nal, in writ­ing. He sub­se­quently is­sued both an email and let­ter con­firm­ing his sus­pen­sion, dis­missal and the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing same. In a per­sonal in­ter­view he spoke frankly about his em­ploy­ment his­tory and ex­pe­ri­ences while work­ing for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. He ex­plained the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his dis­missal, al­leg­ing it mostly stemmed from an on­go­ing con­flict he had with an­other town em­ployee. In Oc­to­ber, he was ad­vised, in­for­mally, to al­ter his be­hav­ior to­ward the co-worker. At this time he claims to have also com­plained to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of be­ing treated in a man­ner that made him un­com­fort­able by that per­son. In the sub­se­quent months he made more than one at­tempt, he told this reporter, to have the ad­min­is­tra­tion help re­solve the con­flict, his at­tempts to do so with the co-worker were triv­i­al­ized and dis­missed as imag­ined. He states that the first real ef­fort to re­solve the is­sue was made by a su­pe­rior on De­cem­ber 21st, 2011. There was a mediation talk amongst the par­ties and su­peri- or, at the re­quest of Mr. Korolev, yet it al­legedly failed to re­solve the con­flict.

The fol­low­ing morning, Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 22nd, Mr. Korolev and the em­ployee were alone in the of­fice prior to open­ing. The in­spec­tor re­sponded to the co-work­ers’ re­quest for as­sis­tance with a com­plaint con­cern­ing un­friendly treat­ment he re­ceived from the co-worker, ad­mit­ting to The Jour­nal that the ex­change was an­gry and he said some things that were not nice. An ar­gu­ment later en­sued in the kitchen, only to be in­ter­rupted by the su­pe­rior who had in­ter­vened the day prior. The ex­change ended at that time and Mr. Korolev greeted a client with whom he met pri­vately in his of­fice for ap­prox­i­mately one hour. Af­ter the meet­ing ended the Mayor en­tered his of­fice, closed the door and rec­om­mended the in­spec­tor take the rest of the day off with pay. When told the in­spec­tor had a meet­ing at 3:00 pm, the Mayor ad­vised him to leave af­ter that meet­ing and added that he should take the fol­low­ing day, Fri­day, De­cem­ber 23rd, off also, with pay. The Mayor was al­legedly aware at this time that Mr. Korolev was sched­uled to leave for Rus­sia the morning of Satur­day, De­cem­ber 24th, and would only re­turn Jan­uary 14th, 2012. Mr. Korolev asked to have a meet­ing with the Mayor and Town Clerk that af­ter­noon, at which time it was ex­plained to him how his be­hav­ior had up­set the other em­ployee. He ad­mits to feel­ing re­morse at this time and rec­og­nized he had been frus­trated and had lost his tem­per.

Mr. Korolev left for the day, but re­turned to the of­fice later that evening to use his of­fice com­puter to write an apol­ogy email to his co-worker, he said the email was po­lite, ad­mit­ted his mis­take, and of­fered a sin­cere apol­ogy for his be­hav­ior of that morning.

On De­cem­ber 23rd, around noon, Mr. Guy Ouel­let and Mayor Du­til ap­peared, unan­nounced, at Mr. Korolev’s apart­ment. Mr. Ouel­let spoke, in­di­cat­ing that the in­spec­tor had ne­glected to re­turn the of­fice keys to them for the hol­i­day pe­riod. There was never any men­tion of sus­pen­sion at this time.

A sus­pen­sion let­ter dated De­cem­ber 22nd, 2011 only reached Mr. Korolev af­ter he learned he was fired on Jan­uary 16th.

Mr. Korolev went to City Hall, dressed for work, that day, where he was told not to re­move his coat and to go to the Gen­eral Man­ager’s of­fice “Right now.”, he was told he was fired, given the rea­sons, and was handed the orig­i­nal copy of the dis­missal let­ter and a pho­to­copy of the sus­pen­sion let­ter. He was es­corted to his of­fice and su­per­vised by the Mayor while he cleaned out his desk and packed his be­long­ings, and es­corted off the prop­erty. The grounds for the dis­missal were as fol­lows:

The Stanstead Jour­nal spoke with three em­ploy­ees at Town Hall, none of whom would com­ment on the dis­missal of Mr. Korolev. The em­ployee with whom he had an on­go­ing con­flict re­fused to com­ment. The Town Clerk in­formed the Jour­nal that all calls from jour­nal­ists are to be routed to the Mayor or the Gen­eral Man­ager. The Gen­eral Man­ager did re­spond to ques­tions per­tain­ing to other mat­ters, but stated he was not at lib­erty to dis­cuss, nor con­firm any de­tails con­cern­ing the dis­missal of any town em­ployee.

He states that in Au­gust 2011 he spoke to Mr. Labbé about wish­ing to leave his po­si­tion af­ter com­ple­tion of his cur­rent con­tract in April 2012. He stated that he did not feel he “fit in” at Town Hall and be­lieved the job was not a good fit for him. He claims Mr. Labbé stated he did not agree with that as­sess­ment but would ad­vise coun­cil in­for­mally that the in­spec­tor wished his con­tract not to be re­newed in April 2012. The Gen­eral Man­ager later con­firmed that coun­cil had agreed to let the con­tract ex­pire.

Photo Ar­chive

For­mer Stanstead build­ing in­spec­tor Stanislav Korolev has been dis­missed from his po­si­tion.

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