Council taking go-slow approach on stadium
Harbour Grace mayor says town’s financial health a top priority
The financial health of the Town of Harbour Grace is once again being scrutinized ahead of any major steps forward on the proposed new stadium, Mayor Terry Barnes confirmed.
Council endorsed the financial review recently, and follows a similar assessment carried out last year by the provincial government.
The town has been approved for a loan from a major financial institution for its share — some $3.8 million — of the long-awaited $21-plus mil- lion project. But Barnes still wants to make sure the town’s coffers will not be stretched too thin.
It is because of this the town decided to put off a meeting with the Department of Municipal Affairs two weeks ago.
Jennifer Janes was the facilities manager at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, while Ashley Janes was the chief administrative officer, prior to their resignations.
An unusual order of events saw Coun. Gord Stone stand to speak before Mayor Terry Barnes could conclude his welcome address.
Stone requested to add some new topics to the agenda that he would like to see discussed, including what to do about hiring a new chief administrative officer and stadium facilities manager. Barnes said it would be discussed during new business.
Some movement made
When the meeting reached the “new business” portion on the agenda, Stone introduced several motions on what he believed should be done to replace the vacant positions.
In his first motion, Stone recommended to reactivate the list of names from former applicants for chief administrative officer, which were put on file when Ashley took the position.
Coun. Kathy Tetford, who chairs the human resources committee, made it known she was strongly against the motion, calling, “nay” when voting. It passed with a vote of 6-1.
The second motion made by Stone was to consider internal employees for the position of stadium manager. If one could not be found, the former applications, which Jennifer was selected from, would also be reactivated. This passed unanimously.
When speaking with Tetford after the meeting, she would not explain her vote against the first motion, but suggested she will speak publicly in the coming weeks.
Sources have indicated there is some conflict between councillors, including about how the resignation situation should have been dealt with. It is unknown at this time if that contributed to Tetford’s vote.
The council held a privileged meeting after the public meeting to discuss the motions, with Stone explaining the plan is to have decisions made quickly.
Meanwhile, former stadium manager Maureen Maher will take on the role again, temporarily, while anoth- er manager is being sought.
Many of the attendees didn’t leave with what they came for — an answer to why two women in high profile positions would unceremoniously tender their resignations.
Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams gave a response to why council could not comment any further at this time, noting she wants to be open with the public.
“Council is not being tight-lipped about the situation,” she announced. “There is a due process.”
Council confirmed in the meeting there are other job positions available with the town, an office position and a stadium worker position.
The stadium position became available when a unionized employee was removed from his position. Sources say unauthorized use of the stadium in December was the reason behind termination.
It was said in the meeting that legal advice was being sought. Tetford confirmed it’s standard procedure when an employee in a union is diciplined or terminated.