Ogden changes cause for concern
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.