MONTREAL – The lawyer of the mayor of the borough of Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-De-Grâce has argued Tuesday before the court of ethics of the elected officials that the 19 charges faced by his client are “wacky” and therefore requests that they be rejected.
Before the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ), I, Eric Oliver has represented Tuesday, Sue Montgomery, who is facing a complaint from the comptroller general of the Ville de Montréal. His client is cited in the ethics, in particular, for harassment, for not having maintained a working environment free of harassment and disclosure of confidential information.
“They have refused to disclose at any time of the investigation the facts that we remonstrated with him, if only vaguely,” said to Me, Olivier. His client would have been advised on the 14th of February in the late afternoon she was to appear three days later “without any detail to prepare”.
In December, in a report by the comptroller general of the Ville de Montréal, the director of cabinet of the mayor, Annalisa Harris, is the subject of the allegations of psychological harassment, to two municipal employees. Ms. Montgomery refused to terminate her employment. This refusal earned him a month later his expulsion from the party projet Montréal, led by Valérie Plant.
Me Oliver countered that when it comes to the recommendations of the comptroller general, the mayor has the power as the elected representative to say that she disagrees and that she dismisses.
“How is it a violation of the code of ethics? wonders there. […] If we elect people and that they can pick up before a disciplinary committee, because they are not in agreement with their officials, what we have to say is that these are the officials who decide.”
The lawyer Sue Montgomery has also pleaded that the comptroller general of the Ville de Montréal, Alain Bond, would be disclosed in its press release in February last, information of the ongoing investigation. He added that by this action, Mr. Bond would have “advertised” voluntarily this survey and would have given up a protection against the law. This last would have done this to “give a blow” to the reputation of the mayor, according to him.
To Me Oliver has also defended his client on his decision to be suspended in April last his borough director Stéphane Plante, being convinced that she made the right decision, considering that the borough director would have incited “other employees to disobey his orders, and that there would be no mention of lack of respect, but this is the article that is cited”.
The lawyer of Ms. Montgomery has asked for the proceedings to be stayed. He added that the administrative tribunal had interfered in the folder and should not support the request of the City of Montreal.
“We are going to arrive at the bottom and it’s going to be an elephant that will give birth to a mouse. The damage to my client’s will to be done”, he explained to the judge.
The sanctions issued by the CMQ can range from a reprimand to a suspension of thirty days with the heads of the indictment. Ms. Montgomery currently has 19 against it, reminded Me of Oliver.
The decision will be known later.