Gripe sparks heated ex­change

The Glengarry News - - News - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

South Glen­garry’s deputy­mayor is once again in­sist­ing that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has a “ma­jor cus­tomer ser­vice prob­lem” when deal­ing with res­i­dents who are seek­ing an­swers and in­for­ma­tion from town­ship em­ploy­ees.

“Cus­tomer ser­vice and com­mu­ni­ca­tions is very lack­ing in our mu­nic­i­pal­ity, and it has been, I think, for a num­ber of years,” Deputy-Mayor Frank Prevost stated dur­ing the March 5 reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing.

“It’s some­thing that has to change and some­thing that this coun­cil and ad­min­is­tra­tion has to start re­al­iz­ing that we have a ma­jor prob­lem with.”

The deputy-mayor says he re­ceives calls, emails and in-per­son vis­its from town­ship res­i­dents frus­trated in their deal­ings with mu­nic­i­pal of­fice staff and de­part­ment em­ploy­ees on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

As an ex­am­ple, Mr. Prevost re­layed the ex­pe­ri­ences of a res­i­dent with a pre­fab sun­room on his prop­erty who re­cently re­ceived a regis­tered let­ter from the town­ship in­form­ing him that the struc­ture was not in com­pli­ance with mu­nic­i­pal by­laws and that he would have to pay a $75 fine for the in­frac­tion.

“He was not un­der the un­der­stand­ing or im­pres­sion that he re­quired a per­mit for that pur­pose,” ex­plained the deputy-mayor.

“I don’t think that (the regis­tered let­ter) is cus­tomer ser­vice. I think it’s to­tally wrong. I think send­ing out a let­ter stat­ing that he needed to con­tact the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and that they needed to have a dis­cus­sion in re­spect to the is­sue is the way. Our cus­tomer ser­vice is ter­ri­ble.”


Mayor Ian McLeod re­minded the deputy-mayor that this wasn’t the first time that such con­cerns had been brought to the coun­cil ta­ble.

“We did say to you about a year ago when we had this sim­i­lar con­ver­sa­tion that any com­mu­ni­ca­tions or like is­sues would be for­warded to the CAO (Bryan Brown) and then he would come back with his (staff) re­port to coun­cil,” said the mayor.

The deputy-mayor replied that he had fol­lowed that procedure “many times,” that he re­ceives “the same an­swers,” and that from now on he will bring such mat­ters di­rectly to coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lor Lyle War­den backed the deputy-mayor’s claim of cus­tomer ser­vice and com­mu­ni­ca­tions short­com­ings “100 per cent.”

How­ever, one of their col­leagues em­phat­i­cally dis­agreed with the deputy-mayor’s claims.

“Are you telling me that the fi­nance de­part­ment doesn’t give good ser­vice? Are you talk­ing about the roads de­part­ment, or in­fra­struc­ture... the staff in the arena?” asked Coun­cil­lor Bill McKen­zie.

“C’mon, c’mon. You’re in­clud­ing ev­ery­body in this town­ship. You can’t gen­er­al­ize like that. You have im­pli­cated that this town­ship doesn’t give good ser­vice to its res­i­dents and that’s not true,” Coun. McKen­zie added, rais­ing his voice. “And you know it.” Mayor McLeod con­cluded the brief but at times heated dis­cus­sion by telling coun­cil that he would speak with Mr. Brown – who was ab­sent from the meet­ing – and that a staff re­port deal­ing with the mat­ter will be brought back to coun­cil at a sub­se­quent reg­u­lar meet­ing, likely the April 2 ses­sion.

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