By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – The Town of Legal will be restructuring its administration after the dismissal of Town Manager Cory Brown over the weekend.
Mayor Albert St. Jean said an emergency council meeting was called Saturday to deal with some internal issues.
“What came out of that is that council has resolved that we terminate Cory’s position as CAO,” St. Jean said Monday afternoon, adding he could not elaborate on the specifics as it was a personnel matter. “In the meantime, we have appointed Robert Proulx as acting CAO until we can regroup and get things back to where we want them.”
Brown had previously come under fire last Wednesday from the town’s Community Services Board for his decision to restructure some positions in the organization, removing the Family Community Support Services coordinator position and assigning the workload to the town’s recreation coordinator. The board grilled the then CAO for nearly an hour, many of the board members stating the decision seemed hasty and not well thought out given the Town of Legal is in a surplus situation financially and that 80 per cent of the FCSS position is covered through provincial funding.
St. Jean declined to say if the restructuring was the reason for Brown’s removal.
“The restructuring of the FCSS was a decision Cory had made as administrator,” St. Jean said. “That really had nothing to do with council because we don’t get involved with the operation of the town because that’s not council’s role.”
Without delving into specifics of just why Brown was released as CAO, St. Jean said the direction administration was administrating the town was not the way council wanted to go. “In order to get things back to the way we want things, we had no recourse but to let Cory go,” the mayor said.
With respect to the Town’s FCSS department, restructured by Brown in late April, St. Jean said he is uncertain what direction Legal will go but would be speaking to the province for guidance.
“We’re probably going to need their help to figure out what we’re going to do,” he said. “In the meantime, the programs are still going to be delivered. We’re going to have to deliver them through Christine [Young] our recreation coordinator. She’s going to have to take on some of those duties as a dual role, appointed interim as well.”
The mayor said much has yet to be figured out, but the matter is likely to be on the agenda at the May 16 council meeting.
At the May 7 emergency meeting council also resolved to suspend the Community Services Board’s duties until further notice.
“We’re not dissolving the board – we’re just suspending their duties because right now we don’t have a [FCSS] coordinator or a director,” the mayor said. “So they don’t really have anybody to go to at the moment.”
The mayor said there is presently nothing overly pressing within FCSS that has to be delivered in the near future.
“Council needs to all sit down and find out what vision and path we’re going to take with FCSS and with our administration and from there we’re going to have to rebuild our structure,” St. Jean said. The one thing we’re not going to do is discontinue FCSS.”
The mayor said although the former CAO’s intention appears to have been to combine the two roles of FCSS and recreation into one position, there seemed to be no fiscal need to do so and the decision to amalgamate the two positions into one is a decision his council does not agree was the best one. Still, St. Jean said such decisions are a CAO’s to make.
“CAOs have the power to do what they figure is their role to administer the staff,” St. Jean said.
The mayor said council will be taking its time in determining what the best direction is going forward with respect to restructuring the Town of Legal’s administration and staffing.