Don’t ask ques­tions in Og­den

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier 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.

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