ILE-DU-GRAND-CALUMET – After the resignation of former mayor Pierre Fréchette on June 2, Jean-Louis Corriveau was chosen by the municipal council to fill the vacancy. In addition to Fréchette, Paul-Émile Maleau and Irene Nadeau have also resigned the position since the 2013 election. “Procedure states that a choice needed to be made around the council table given the short time span until the next municipal election,” explained Corriveau during a council meeting on June 5.
An invoice to blame for Fréchette’s resignation?
Council members preferred to limit their explanations of Fréchette’s departure during the June 5 meeting, but Corriveau read his letter of resignation. “I resigned in response to an insistent demand to ignore a situation that ran counter to obligations stipulated in a contract.
No citizen or councillor should receive favourable treatment,” wrote Fréchette. After
questions from the public, Corriveau went on to explain: “There was a fight at our
community centre during an evening involving members of the fire department. There was damage. The resigning mayor decided to send an invoice without going through the general management. We could not support that; it wasn’t normal
procedure,” said Corriveau. “We always wanted to work with Pierre even if we did
not always agree,” added Councillor Réjean Meilleur.
Despite the explanations, questions from the public revealed a lot of frustration; residents, municipal employees and even some elected officials are increasingly
exasperated by the situation. The condition of the municipal roads was discussed and one municipal employee stated he is tired of being blamed for the poor state
of the roads. The public question period lasted over an hour.
A question of organization or a lack of communication?
The municipality’s protection plan was also a topic at the meeting. In emergency situations, like the recent flooding, a list of companies or individuals to contact for help is distributed. “Three of the five people on the list have died and the other two are not around,” exclaimed Meilleur. Surprisingly, some councillors didn’t know which other municipalities Ile-du-Grand-Calumet has agreements with for fire services. A week after the meeting, Meilleur said he was more optimistic: “I’m starting to get answers,” he explained.
The end of the curse?
In addition to the three mayors, during the present term, councillor Jonathan Page and former Director General Jacques Mantha have also resigned. “It’s a purgatory to be an elected official; it’s impossible to please everyone,” admitted Meilleur,
who stated the municipality regularly consults the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for legal advice. During the 2013 election, only two councillors were elected (Richard La Salle and Émilie La Salle), with the five other seats filled by acclamation.