‘Hard de­ci­sion’ slammed

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

North Stor­mont coun­cil of­fi­cially an­nounced that the town­ship had parted ways with its di­rec­tor of fi­nance dur­ing its reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing on July 9, a move that at least one coun­cil­lor strongly dis­ap­proved of.

“On Fri­day, July 5, coun­cil and town­ship staff were no­ti­fied via email by the town­ship’s new CAO, Craig Calder, that the di­rec­tor of fi­nance, Cather­ine Borelly, was no longer em­ployed by the town­ship,” Coun­cil­lor Rox­ane Vil­leneuve stated. She then quoted an ex­cerpt from the email. “‘This is a no­ti­fi­ca­tion that Cather­ine is no longer em­ployed at the Town­ship of North Stor­mont. This de­ci­sion was based on a new di­rec­tion for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and re­quired a shift in se­nior lead­er­ship, and is no way a re­flec­tion on Cather­ine’s pro­fes­sion­al­ism.’”

The con­tents of that in­ter­nal email were some­how leaked to the mem­bers of the gen­eral com­mu­nity, lead­ing to a larger-than-usual pub­lic gallery of about 50 lo­cal res­i­dents – in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Moose Creek Cham­ber of Com­merce, whom Coun. Vil­leneuve thanked for be­ing in at­ten­dance – al­though many were at the meet­ing to vent against the con­tro­ver­sial Na­tion Rise Wind Farm, as well as other mat­ters.

A Moose Creek res­i­dent her­self, Coun. Vil­leneuve added that she wanted “to make it very clear that there was no prior con­sul­ta­tion with coun­cil, or prior de­ci­sions by coun­cil, to ter­mi­nate Miss Borelly’s em­ploy­ment here...”

Among those who spoke dur­ing the 15minute seg­ment of the meet­ing de­voted to ques­tions from the pub­lic was Moose Creek Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Gerry Mont­calm, who was upset with the han­dling of the di­rec­tor of fi­nance’s dis­missal, as well as how it may come back to bite the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“I’m wor­ried this $548,000 (a pro­vin­cial grant re­ceived by the town­ship in March) is go­ing to end up in a Cather­ine Borelly sev­er­ance pack­age,” said Mr. Mont­calm.

“Not that she’s not due it, but some­body needs to start mak­ing de­ci­sions around here that make sense.” CAO Calder de­fended the move. “Per­haps...I could have been a lit­tle bit more de­tailed in the email. I’m not sure how ev­ery­body has a copy of that, but in any event, that was di­rected to staff and coun­cil,” he said.

“The in­ten­tion of that email was to speak to the of­fice en­vi­ron­ment and a new di­rec­tion of trust and trans­parency, col­lab­o­ra­tion and an en­gaged workforce. That’s what the in­ten­tion of that mes­sage was...not for the di­rec­tion of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity as a whole, be­cause that of course, lies as a re­spon­si­bil­ity of coun­cil.”

Mayor Jim Wert, ap­par­ently aware of the lo­cal sen­ti­ment re­gard­ing Ms. Borelly’s de­par­ture, weighed in on the mat­ter at the on­set of last week’s meet­ing.

“It’s no se­cret that last week, our town­ship took a change in di­rec­tion, as far as staffing goes,” said the mayor.

“It’s not up for de­bate....it’s done”

“It was a hard de­ci­sion, and when­ever or­ga­ni­za­tions re­fo­cus, some­times, hard de­ci­sions have to be made. But, it was done with the best of in­ten­tions to­wards the town­ship, the staff in­volved, and the fu­ture.”

Mayor Wert added that the de­ci­sion to let Ms. Borelly go was “done with the au­thor­ity” of the chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer.

“I com­pletely sup­ported it. The by­law is avail­able for any­body who wishes to scru­ti­nize it. It’s not up for de­bate...It’s done,” said the mayor.

Ms. Borelly had been in North Stor­mont’s em­ploy since Fe­bru­ary 2016, hav­ing pre­vi­ously served as both deputy-trea­surer and then trea­surer for the Vil­lage of Cas­sel­man.

There has been no word on when a new di­rec­tor of fi­nance will be cho­sen in North Stor­mont.

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