No trusteeship for Grenville-sur-la-Rouge

Québec’s intervention seen as remedy to conflict

fuse to pay a $3,788.43 bill from the Laval legal firm of Dunton Rainville. Earlier this year, the firm had provided a legal opinion before members had objected to the ex- penditure. Council has refused to pay the invoice, telling the mayor to foot the bill. During the latest spat, Saywell related that Councillor Daniel Gauthier had discussed the need for a legal opinion with Pascal Surprenant, administrator at the time. Monette asserted that Gauthier had no authority to ask for a legal opinion. While he dismissed the resolution as be- ing “ridiculous,” Saywell did not vote. “At least the lawyer will be paid,” he remarked. The opinion concerns a grievance that Saywell has filed against Baril, alleging a conflict of interest. The mayor affirms the councillor has a conflict because he is a shareholder in Les Sources Véo, a water bottling firm that has a road maintenance agreement with the municipality on the Rouge River Road. The legal firm has concluded a conflict allegation would be difficult to prove be- cause, although Baril works for the compa- ny, he does not own shares in Les Sources Véo. Saywell has rejected that opinion; Baril counters that Saywell is using taxpay- ers’ dollars to finance a vendetta against him. The four members already adopted a non-confidence vote against the mayor. Now Monette has served notice that she wants Saywell’s expenses to be more closely scrutinized. Saywell has said such


a control would contravene the municipal code. Citing the need for transparency, Monette contends council has the right to examine all disbursements. During the stormy exchange, Foreman urged the members to resolve their differ- ences behind closed doors, observing that taxpayers were tired of all the bickering.

Saywell blames the group of four for a lack of planning, asserting complaints against him are frivolous. Monette and Baril say that Saywell is responsible for the rift, maintaining that he has levelled false accusations against his colleagues. “As a leader, you are pitiful,” Monette de- clared.

CALUMET | The Québec government has no intention to place Grenville-sur-la- Rouge under trusteeship. However, the province could intervene with a plan in a bid to end the“crisis” that has plagued the municipality for the past year. The municipal affairs ministry has not acted on the rare request that was made by Mayor John Saywell in May. Officials have instead suggested that an intervention plan could put in place to re- solve the conflict among the divided coun- cil. “There is a lack of interest to help small municipalities,” said Saywell during a recent council meeting. Under a trusteeship, the Québec munici- pal commission would assume control of municipal decisions. “I believe that this is the only remaining solution to allow our municipality to re- cover and move on from the current crises,” Saywell wrote in a May 30 letter to taxpay- ers. The council is split into two factions, with Deputy mayor Diane Monette, and Council- lors Noël Baril, Alain Carrière and Pierre Les- sard in one camp, and the mayor and Coun- cillors Teresa Forman and Daniel Gauthier in the other. Discord was evident again at the last meeting when members continued to re-

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