Og­den changes cause for con­cern

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Og­den

Fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Og­den mayor Joe Stairs in the Spring, who left mainly out of frus­tra­tion with not be­ing able to se­cure bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions for the town’s em­ploy­ees, the sit­u­a­tion at the Og­den Town Hall does not seem to be im­prov­ing. The town’s Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the last twelve years, Re­nee Don­ald­son, has also now re­signed, opt­ing for a lengthy, daily com­mute to Austin where she now works as as­sis­tant to the Gen­eral Di­rec­tor of that com­mu­nity. The Build­ing and En­vi­ron­ment in­spec­tor, Do­minique Gagnon, is off on an ex­tended sick leave and coun­cil­lor Amy Kerr has just re­signed.

“There has been quite a change of di­rec­tion in Og­den. We’ve lost a mayor, our DG has re­signed and now a coun­cil­lor has re­signed. Some­times change is good but when you start to lose many peo­ple… It’s a con­cern when a sleepy com­mu­nity like Og­den loses three out of seven mem­bers; it was a small group,” com­mented for­mer coun­cil­lor Gor­don Rowe who at­tended Mon­day night’s coun­cil meet­ing to try and find out what was go­ing on.

Michael Sud­low, a for­mer mayor of Og­den who is now a coun­cil­lor, sounded un­happy about the re­cent de­vel­op­ments. “Mrs. Don­ald­son was su­perb in her job but she wasn’t happy with the work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the new mayor and some coun­cil­lors. She’d be ques­tioned and queried on in­signif­i­cant items, un­der­min­ing what she’d been do­ing for twelve years. In Austin, there were twenty other ap­pli­cants for the job and they chose Mrs. Don­ald­son, so it’s not just me who thinks she’s very ca­pa­ble. That’s the kind of peo­ple we’re los­ing,” said Mr. Sud­low.

Af­ter spend­ing about $3000 on ad­ver­tis­ing, only nine peo­ple ap­plied for the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral po­si­tion in Og­den. “I said it would be dif­fi­cult to re­place her; DG’s al­ways meet to­gether for var­i­ous things, and they talk… Of the nine ap­pli­cants, only one was qual­i­fied enough for an

in­ter­view, and she came all the way from the Abitibi area. That in­di­cates the dire sit­u­a­tion we’re now in,” added Mr. Sud­low.

Very re­cently, the work­ing con­di­tions of the town’s salaried em­ploy­ees, the is­sue that “was the straw that broke the camel’s back” for Mr. Stairs, was re­solved: the em­ploy­ees will get a 1.9 % cost of liv­ing in­crease while los­ing two of their paid hol­i­days.

Coun­cil­lor Amy Kerr re­signed last week af­ter Thurs­day’s work­ing meet­ing. “There’s al­ways stress that comes with a change of lead­er­ship and, with a busy sum­mer ahead, I wanted to free my­self from this un­nec­es­sary stress. Af­ter our work­ing meet­ing, last Thurs­day, I was put in a po­si­tion where I felt very un­com­fort­able and, be­cause I wasn’t plan­ning to con­tinue my man­date, I de­cided to re­sign,” she ex­plained.

At­tempts to reach in­terim mayor Lise Routhier were un­suc­cess­ful.

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