Enforcemenet officer hiring divides council
The Town of Carbonear has made an offer of employment to a new municipal enforcement officer, but the decision has caused some conflict among members of council.
At a council meeting on July 20, Coun. David Kennedy tabled a motion that would have the town withdraw its offer of employment.
Kennedy expressed concerns that the successful applicant would be doing contract work outside of his normal duties as municipal enforcement officer. Kennedy questioned whether that was appropriate, and suggested council did not have sufficient information on the candidate when it endorsed his hiring.
Kennedy’s motion ended with a 3-3 tie, meaning it was defeated.
The successful candidate — the town will not release his name until he officially accepts the position — is a retired police officer who was born and raised in Carbonear, said Kennedy.
Kennedy said there was “no mention” of an outside contract during the interview process.
“After council offered this individual the job, he waited over a week to respond, and then told the hiring committee that he would take the position, provided that council was comfortable with him taking this outside job as well,” Kennedy told The Compass.
As is practice during matters relating to personnel, council discussed the issue primarily during privileged meetings.
Kennedy said he felt the process was rushed, and that council was not given all the requisite details.
Meanwhile, Mayor Sam Slade and Coun. Betty Forward voted with Kennedy to rescind the offer of employment.
While Slade said he still supports the successful candidate, he voted for the motion because he felt he needed more information from the committee.
“ There were a couple of questions I wanted answers to, but I didn’t get the answers,” said Slade.
Opposed to Kennedy’s motion were deputy mayor Ches Ash and councillors Ed Goff and George Butt.
Ash represented council on the hiring committee, and insisted that council “ went through the normal procedure.”
The candidate, he said, “made us aware of the (outside) short-term contract, and left it to us to decide.”
The municipal enforcement officer is expected to implement property regulations and control crowds in emergencies or at special events.
Recently, Kennedy said, council considered expanding the role to include occupational health and safety, and is exploring a special relationship with the RCMP that would enable enforcement officers to give out parking tickets.
The job is a full-time position, and includes occasional weekend and evening work.
Kennedy said his main concern is that the town could have offered the job to an equally qualified applicant more in need of work.
“ The town has offered a job to a man who is drawing a pension, and working other jobs, when there are so many people in Carbonear who are without work,” he said.
“ There are young people coming out of the school system and well-qualified people living in Carbonear. As well, there are very wellqualified people working outside the province who are willing (to do the job) and willing to move home.”
Councillors agreed the candidate was well-qualified for the job, but Kennedy suggested he was not “specially qualified” beyond other applicants.
Ash agreed there were other qualified applicants.
Town administrator Cynthia Davis said late last week the successful applicant will start work “as soon as possible,” but she could not give an exact date until he officially accepts the town’s offer.