Arnaud de la Salle
Arnaud de la Salle
MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – Mayor Roger Larose has denied that his municipality is facing legal problems from multiple sources. He claimed, in the January 13 Pontiac Journal, that the municipality’s legal issues are largely those left behind by the administration of former mayor,Eddie McCann. He acknowledged the new legal dispute with Mr McCann, as the municipality tries to clarify McCann’s eligibility to sit as a councillor.
Dominic Labrie, Pontiac’s Communications Manager, agreed with the mayor, reporting that the municipality’s legal expenses are due to collective agreement negotiations and that other lawsuits are being resolved ‘amicably ‘.
Several Pontiac residents have disputed these assertions. Alain Larose, cited by Mr Labrie, told the Journal his dispute is by no means over, and there have been no discussions that could lead to an amicable settlement. On the contrary, he said, “They terminated my employment contract within the eco-centre, so I also lost my job.”In addition, two municipal employees who asked to remain anonymous told the Journal they have been victims of harassment by the municipality and were forced to leave their jobs for medical reasons related to these situations. A legal proceeding, which included witness testimony, was held in a Gatineau court January 20-21. One of the plaintiffs, who doesn’t benefit from union support due to her former management position, initiated the legal proceeding herself; she said she was literally pressured out of her office by the municipal administration.
The second plaintiff is unionized and received union assistance to challenge the municipality; her suit is also in progress, contrary to the mayor’s statement. This plaintiff said she was also left jobless by the administration upon her return from a leave of absence.
In response, the municipality has told the Journal that they pursued legal action against McCann and not the reverse. They did not deny the existence of the legal proceedings against the two dismissed employees and instead claimed they are human resource issues stemming from the previous administration that still need to be resolved as well as the product of the complainants’ resentment and desire for revenge.
In Larose’s case, the municipality said they attempted to link Larose’s two files to find a universal agreement but he was not interested in negotiating a comprehensive agreement.