CORNWALL, Ontario – A nurse who twice forwarded letters to city council detailing mismanagement and a toxic work environment at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge has gone public as a self-described whistleblower.
Julie Johnston is demanding nearly wholesale changes around the city council table, with just days to go before the municipal election set for Oct. 27.
Among her accusations is that twice in December, 2010 she sent letters to Mayor Bob Kilger and the balance of city council detailing her concerns about the lodge.
She asserts none of the city councillors received the letters.
Johnston goes on to suggest that the working conditions were so bad at the lodge that resident care was being affected.
Sending the letters to council, which also made their way into the hands of management at the lodge, resulted in Johnston losing five days pay – and she once again attacks the city for failing to allow her union representation while being investigated for sending the letters.
“After four years, I’ve decided to come forward, hesitantly,” she said in her open letter that was circulated Friday. “In hopes to give perspective that whistleblowers are indeed penalized for bringing forth concerns and that many failures exist within the hierarchy of governance.”
Johnston was initially suspended for several weeks, including losing five weeks pay but negotiations between her union and the city saw the penalty reduced to five days without pay.
“I was told to ‘go home, lie low, go underground and let it go,'” said Johnston. “Which violated everything that Bill 168 stands for, violated the union contract and violated the city policy.”
Johnston said she’s going public now because she feels municipal mismanagement is systemic – going as far as city council.
“I’ve observed a strained city council too, which indicates problems are beyond the city managers who were involved,” she said, paying tribute to former city councillor and mayoral candidate Leslie O’Shaughnessy and incumbent Andre Rivette for working towards what she feels is transparency.