Pontiac welcomes interim Director, adopts controversial budget

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Added: Wed, 01/16/2019 - 10:18pm
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Mo Laidlaw & Allyson Beauregard

MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – The municipality is left searching for a
permanent Director General (DG) after Benedikt Kuhn resigned, effective December 31, to accept a job as Development Officer at Transcollines, the MRC-des-Collines' public transit network.
“Mr. Kuhn's resignation is a big loss; with him goes a lot of knowledge and skills. He was particularly effective in setting up and running the Emergency Response Team, and dealing with the results of the heavy rains, floods and tornado that hit the region in recent years. We will miss him,” said Mayor Joanne Labadie. 
Kuhn worked for the municipality since July 2012, first as assistant DG, and then as DG from December 2013. Before that, he worked at the MRC Pontiac in cultural development.
Charlotte Laforest, a resident and former councillor of Chelsea, is filling the position temporarily after shadowing Kuhn for a week late last year. She holds a Master’s degree in administration and was chair of the largest francophone school board in Ontario, Grandes Rivières, in Timmins. She has a strong background in human resources, conflict resolution and union negotiating. Laforest’s primary task is to hire a new, permanent DG; a call for nominations is in progress.
Meanwhile, a report from the FQM, with input from councillors, on whether
to hire an Assistant DG or a Communications Director to replace Dominic Labrie, who left in August, is due January 17.
Municipal budget
Council adopted its 2019 budget during a special meeting on December 20, which will see tax revenue increase from $4,944,792 in 2018 to $5,203,402
this year, a near 5% jump. The budget's adoption was somewhat controversial with some residents claiming the social media notice given a day in advance of the meeting did not meet Québec Municipal Code standards of at least
eight days notice. According to council, they met all requirements by posting notices at the Town Hall and fire stations ­because there is no obligation to do so online. The bylaw regarding the tax rate was expected to be adopted during the January 15 council meeting. See more details our next issue.