Coun­cil tak­ing go-slow ap­proach on sta­dium

Har­bour Grace mayor says town’s fi­nan­cial health a top pri­or­ity

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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.

Sonia Wil­liams

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