CORNWALL, Ontario – City councillors could decidewhether to consider offering a settlement to a Cornwall whistleblower, or paving the way for a lawsuit to go to trial.
Diane Shay, who worked at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge and filed a $425,000 lawsuit against the city last year after enduring harassment at the hands of municipal managers for blowing he lid off a case of suspected elder abuse, confirmed the item would be discussed behind closed doors Monday night.
She said city councillors, on the advice of their lawyer who will be addressing council privately, are likely to decide on offering a settlement or preparing to take the lawsuit to trial.
If councillors opt for a trial, Shay and lawyer Fay Brunning will likely file a motion this week to obtain more documents out of city hall in advance of the court case.
Last year she said the city seemed to be dragging its heels in that regard.
“I’m still of that opinion,” she said Monday afternoon. “We want to get all the documents we’re requesting.”
There are three “litigation issues” listed on tonight’s council agenda, but no specifics are provided. Council almost never discusses the contents of an in-camera meeting following such a session.
That sentiment held true Monday night, when council did not address the subject publicly. It’s unclear when its decision on how to proceed with the issue will be made public.
Last year the previous city council discussed a settlement of as much as $250,000, but that talk fell apart following the 2014 municipal election.
The city pleaded guilty in 2011 to retaliating against Shay, who made a complaint on her own to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care about an incident at the lodge. As a result of her decision to go the ministry to file a complaint, which is mandated by law, the city began a campaign of abuse against her.
The city was fined $15,000, though specific charges against then city human resources manager Robert Menaugh were shelved.
Menaugh has since been relieved of his duties and replaced and then CAO Paul Fitzpatrick has retired.
Shay has complained that that isn’t enough. She wasn’t afforded the opportunity to read a victim-impact statement into the court record, which is now something that often takes place.
Shay’s lawsuit seeks $350,000 in aggravated and punitive damages, as well as $75,000 in special damages, plus legal costs.