Former administrator blindsided with firing

By Marianne Curtis

   Lori Wood, former administrator for the RM of La Broquerie is excited about moving on to work in a new municipality but she is not leaving quietly.

   As of the beginning of May, Wood will be the new chief administrator for the RM of Armstrong. This comes nearly a year after she went on stress leave from the RM of La Broquerie.

   “I went on medical leave of absence last fall based upon the strong recommendation of my attending physician,” stated Wood. “I had no alternative but to seek alternative employment when the RM of La Broquerie “attempted” to terminate my employment without the required resolution of council.”

   Officially, Woods’s stress leave expired March 31 however she received a record of employment (ROE) a few weeks before that date which stated her employment was “terminated”.

   “I received an ROE indicating that I was fired and certain members of the current council are not aware that this happened, and a resolution was never brought to council,” stated Wood.

   Under the Municipal Act, a municipal employee can not be terminated without a majority vote of council however there is no public record of such a resolution within the RM of La Broquerie council minutes.  Under the Labour Act, an employee’s employment can not be terminated while on medical leave.

 “I can not speak for the remainder of the previous staff but I can say that I exercised my right to make my concerns known,” Wood continued. “My concerns were taken to the appropriate Provincial Departments and it will be up to them to make a ruling.”

   Deputy reeve Jean Gagnon is sorry to see Wood go.

   “Lori was the best thing that happened to this municipality,” stated Gagnon. “She is very knowledgeable and I wish her well in her new position.”

   He added that several councilors were unaware that Wood had received a record of employment which terminated her employment at the end of March.

   “I had no idea about the record of employment until now,” confirmed Gagnon.

   Wood has a few parting words for her former employees.

   “I will miss the office staff that I have the pleasure of working with and I thank them for their hard work,” Wood added. “I wish them the best of luck.”

   Wood would not speak further on the issues she found within the RM of La Broquerie because the matter is pending litigation.

   “It would appear that this is far from over – I may be gone but the allegations will be pursued. The principles of good governance, accountability and transparency seem to be missing, and most importantly the right to being treated with fairness has been taken away from residents and developers within the community,” stated Wood.

   “Municipal Governments are still creatures of the Province, they are not a third order of Government therefore all Council’s must follow the framework set out by the Province, and more so should be following their own by-laws and policies which they have adopted.  I want ratepayers to know when they come into the office frustrated it’s not the staff that are making the decisions there, it is council,” Wood concluded.

Several members of the current RM of La Broquerie council are being investigated by the Ombudsman’s office. An investigation was launched at the beginning of the year to address a number of concerns raised pertaining the works and operations of the current council.

 ~as published in the May 2010 Dawson Trail Dispatch


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