Town Hall Keeps Suspension a Secret?
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.
Former Stanstead building inspector Stanislav Korolev has been dismissed from his position.