Quorum finally reached – Discord at Municipality of Pontiac council

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Laurent Robillard-Cardinal and
Allyson Beauregard

After almost two months of cancelled meetings due to a lack of quorum, the Municipality of Pontiac (MunP) was able to proceed with its regular March council meeting.

Laurent Robillard-Cardinal and
Allyson Beauregard

After almost two months of cancelled meetings due to a lack of quorum, the Municipality of Pontiac (MunP) was able to proceed with its regular March council meeting.
The continual lack of quorum irritated Mayor Roger Larose, who told the Journal after one cancelled meeting, “Nothing is moving. We are stuck. Unsettled bills are mounting, and we don’t want to start paying interest on them.”  These matters were settled on March 14.
“Councillor Tom Howard has been outside the country, and two councillors (Inès Pontiroli and Jean Amyotte) are missing the meetings. We reschedule the meetings, but it never seemed to work for the them,” he added.
According to Larose, the situation deteriorated following the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision in late January confirming Edward McCann’s ineligibility to sit on council. With Howard away, only five councillors remained and a majority must be present to obtain quorum.
“These councillors ran to represent their residents. They may disagree with me, but their duty is still to attend meetings,” said Larose.
Councillor Pontiroli denied any plot.  “I call to cancel, and it’s because I have valid personal reasons. I work within the law and I try to do my work as councillor even if it’s hard with the current council,” she told the Journal.
“We have no choice but to work together. Mayor Larose scheduled a meeting, but forgot to invite Amyotte. Therefore, the convocation was void. Larose has never called me, but he’s calling the media to attack me. There’s a lack of leadership at council,” Pontiroli told the Journal. “Mr. Amyotte and I always get bawled at. We request information before voting and rarely get it. The mayor and other councillors want us to vote blindly – this is how it’s been from the start.”
In November 2013, Larose obtained just over 51% of the votes, defeating McCann for mayor. Voter turnout was 42.7 %.
“The saddest part is the population’s lack of involvement. There are countries where people die for the right to vote, while here, people ignore that privilege,” added Pontiroli, who’s unsure she will run again.
“It’s time for new people with new ideas to run. If there’s one level of government which has an impact on your wallet, it’s the municipal level, but people are uninterested,” she said.
A divided council is not new in the municipality.
In 2000, the provincial government placed it under trusteeship after council was unable to adopt resolutions and many meetings lacked quorum.