Councillors concerned about suspension of director general and surveillance cameras
Mo Laidlaw

Following the Pontiac council meeting on April 8, at which it was decided to have an external audit, Councillors Pontiroli and Amyotte called for a special meeting on April 15, to discuss the suspension of the director general during the audit. “He’s suspended, even if the municipality has nothing against him and no resolution to this effect was adopted. Nor did we approve the use of surveillance cameras inside the town hall. I’m worried about the privacy implications,” said Mme Pontiroli. M. Amyotte added, “We don’t know if it’s legal and that’s why we asked for legal advice.”

The two councillors think that the mayor may have exceeded his powers in suspending the director general without a resolution from council, and have contacted Municipal affairs (MAMROT) and MNA André Fortin for advice.

“Unfortunately the mayor refused to allow the lawyer to attend the special meeting to answer our questions, so we cancelled it. We think the mayor can only act by himself if there is immediate danger to the public,” continued Mme Pontiroli. “If we get sued we may have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.” (As occurred in Cantley, Gatineau, and several other municipalities where director generals were suspended.)

The mayor not surprised
Mayor Larose is not surprised by the reaction of the two councillors. He maintains that the director general is on leave to facilitate the external audit of municipal finances. “I’ve checked with our lawyers who tell me I can do this,” he said. “As far as the cameras, I know they weren’t approved by council, but it was necessary, and doesn't cost the municipality as it’s part of the audit firm’s services.” He says the cameras will be removed when the audit is finished.