Photo: Jeanne Corriveau Duty
The councillor for projet Montréal, Magda Popeanu (to the right of the mayor Sue Montgomery)
The council of the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has invalidated the suspension of the borough director Stéphane Plante, who had decreed two weeks ago the mayor Sue Montgomery. Meeting Wednesday evening, the elected officials have adopted by majority a motion to return immediately to the top-civil servant in his duties.
“Sue Montgomery has decided to implement a parallel court. Even worse, it punishes a person identified as a victim because he refuses to interact with the person who has been subjected to psychological harassment, ” stressed the councillor for projet Montréal, Magda Popeanu.
A few minutes earlier, the mayor Montgomery had done the reading of the reasons which have led it to impose two suspensions without pay — one to two days and the other for 17 days to the borough director Stéphane Plante. She said that on two occasions, on 26 and 27 February, Stéphane Plant had walked out of a meeting to be attended by the director of cabinet of Mrs Montgomery, Annalisa Harris, identified by the Comptroller general of the Ville as having been subjected to psychological harassment of two employees, including Stéphane Plant.
“I believe that it is an act of insubordination serious,” said Ms. Montgomery, ” Mr. Plant is the first official of the district, and it must keep me informed on the records of the district. By refusing to obey my directives, it denies access to information and prevents me to perform my duties under the Law on cities and towns. “
According to Ms. Montgomery, the official would have had to obey him, and later contest whether it was in disagreement with its directives.
The other elected officials of the borough are not of this opinion. “We cannot in any way condone such disciplinary measures, random, and unfair to the borough director. The actions of the mayor, crippling the district and maintain a work environment toxic, ” said councillor Magda Popeanu.
The advisor and the head of the Whole Montreal, Lionel Perez has accused the mayor of punishing a public official who, in fact, wanted to implement the recommendations of the Comptroller general. “The suspension is a serious disciplinary action, especially when it comes to the highest official of the district “, he said. According to him, this case is a “distraction” and does that hinder the efficient functioning of the district.
He proposed the adoption of a motion to reinstate Stephane Plant immediately in its functions.
Four elected officials have voted in favour of this motion in order to allow Stéphane Plant to resume his position and receive the salary which he was deprived during his two suspensions. Only Sue Montgomery is the opposite.
Sue Montgomery is at loggerheads with the administration of Valerie Plant, and the comptroller general for months. When she complained to the controller of the actions of some officials, it was rather concluded that his chief of staff, Annalisa Harris, had been subjected to psychological harassment of two employees of CDN-NDG, the borough director Stéphane Plante.
On Tuesday, the mayor had attempted to convince the superior Court to order the City to give him the three reports of the Division of compliance of the person and of the Controller without redaction and to cease to interfere in the management of the district. The judge, however, believed that Sue Montgomery had not been able to demonstrate the urgency of the request.