No laws broken. Isn’t that what we heard with the MLA expense scandal? Does that let government staff or elected officials off the hook with the voters or do ethics count? It’s a good question.
If you were listening to CBC radio yesterday morning you will have heard the sad, sorry tale of Nackowic, NB highlighted on Maritime Magazine. [here’s the podcast].
If someone started going through your mailbox at home, or peeking through your window as you composed a letter…chances are you’d consider that an invasion of privacy. But what if someone started reading your personal e-mails? What if they did it at work? And what if that person was your boss? That’s what happened to a former employee at the town council office in Nackawic, New Brunswick. And the dispute over whether she has a right to be upset over it – has divided the town. [emph ours]
If you hadn’t heard it was a New Brunswick story you might have thought they were talking about our town of Wolfville, another town apparently divided over the ethics of our municipal administration. The details differ, but does the attitude differ? We ask you.
Nackawic apparently has a CAO, or at least an acting one, who was the perpetrator of this breach, with the knowledge and apparent approval of Mayor and Council. The Union of Municipalities tells us the addition of CAOs (at some cost) to municipal administrations is supposed to add competence and professionalism to municipal politics. Is this an example? We see the opposite. The Union of NS Municipalities doesn’t seem to be concerned with ethics. Do CAOs just advise how to get around and deny problems, fight townspeople, ignore complaints, perhaps even target complainers, so issues are not resolved fairly? This is how it appears from our point of view.
But the ultimate responsibility for unethical behavior resides with Mayor and Council – and beyond that the voter. One Councillor in Nackawic had a conscience. Does it take a pastor to stand up and say “this is not right?” From a Jan report of the Daily Gleaner
The town’s handling of a computer hacking incident between two employees was a key factor in his decision to quit his post as a Nackawic councillor, says Paul Legere.
Legere resigned Dec. 7, saying he could no longer serve on council with a good conscience.
Legere, who agreed to be interviewed Thursday about the reasons for his departure, said he would like to see the provincial government step in and help the town resolve its internal conflicts and restore balance to town politics.
“I think Municipal Affairs needs to step in somewhere and help this situation get resolved because it’s not going to go away … We’re not getting any work done,” he said.
“Someone has to step forward and be the hero and go to work for the community.” …
“The reason why I resigned council is because of what they did to her,” Legere said. “It was because of the decisions made involving Leanne (Mullin) … I warned the mayor and councillors that we had to do what was right.”
Legere said he’s not out to sling mud on town council but as a clergyman, he could no longer be party to an unfair situation.
From the comments on the CBC report:
The town screwed up big time……. without confronting Lee Ann, they were unprofessional and really lost any credible footing and displayed a lack of moral foundation. And since the province and the police can not really take it any further with current laws regarding human rights, they are not technically at fault with current federal and provincial privacy laws (loopholes) currently at play. SO…… the good citizens of Nackawic should fire the Mayor at the next election. WITHOUT FAIL, then also terminate the (snoop and moral-deprived) supervisor (“acting”?) town administrator and only then put this behind them. Shame on the mayor for the apparent way she has also been conducting town council meetings…… small town yes, but small-minded indeed…. how backwoods!!! …
From the comments in the Daily Gleaner report:
It is interesting that a similar thing is going on in Oromocto right now and no one is reporting it. An Asst CAO there was making remarks about the elected members and when caught took extended stress leave to avoid punishment. Our municipalities act needs to be cleaned up to ensure some of these characters do not get jobs in our local government.[all emph ours]
Does anyone else see the parallells we do?