Don’t ask questions in Ogden
The municipality of Ogden now has a new director general. Interim director general Monique Pepin, who took on the task after the unexpected departure of long-time director general Renee Donaldson, has been working five days a week training Vicky Comeau. That weekly training ends today as Mrs. Pepin takes her vacation, however, when she returns she will continue to train Ms. Comeau, who has no experience in municipal administration, just a few days a week.
Small groups of residents are continuing to attend the monthly council meetings, something that was rarer in the past, before the changes at the Town Hall that included the departure of the former mayor, Joe Stairs, the director general, and councillor Amy Kerr.
“The residents who attended were mostly concerned about a property in bad shape,” said the new mayor, Lise Routhier. According to the mayor, the other main points of the meeting were the accept- ing of the fire protection agreement between Ogden and the Township of Stanstead, which was worked on for more than a year, and the decision to send a resolution to the government concerning the transportation of dangerous materials, be it by railway or road.
Councillor Michael Sudlow provided more information about the town’s last two meetings; helpful considering the minutes of the early July meeting are not yet posted on the town’s website which I was asked to consult several times when interviewing mayor Routhier. “We normally have question periods at the beginning and at the end of our meetings, however, in the July meeting, the mayor cancelled the questions at the beginning of the meeting. That question period is important because it can have an effect on the decisions taken during the meeting,” explained Mr. Sudlow. “At the August meeting there was no question period on the agenda, so I asked for it to be re-
installed. The mayor then asked if anyone had something on the agenda that they wanted to bring forward,” added Mr. Sudlow.
Mr. Sudlow also spoke about the position of town building and environment inspector. In the meeting, the description of that position was changed from the town’s past description of a twoperson job, one year round at three days a week, with the other person working only two days a week during the summer when things are busy, to a five days per week position, for one person, all year long. “I asked council why they reversed their original decision which was taken just a few months ago,” he said.
The municipality hired the engineering firm Groupe SM to write a report on how to proceed with the work to repair a large culvert on Boynton Road. The engineering firm presented the town with two options, both in the vicinity of $300,000 to $400,000. The engineering firm has also been asked to make a plan for a non-permanent solution to the problem since the cost of their initial recommendations represents about 30% of the town’s annual budget. “In the past, we have gone directly to the companies to ask for a detailed estimate, not to engineering firms,” commented Mr. Sudlow.