BERWICK, Ontario – Citizens and one Councillor in North Stormont are concerned about recent staffing changes at the municipality.
On Friday, July 5, Township Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Clerk Craig Calder sent an email to Mayor Jim Wert and Councillors explaining that Director of Finance Catherine Borelly had been terminated.
“This is a notification that Catherine is no longer employed with the Township of North Stormont,” Calder’s email to Council reads. “This decision was based on a new direction for the municipality and required a shift in senior leadership and is no way a reflection on Catherine’s professionalism.”
At least one North Stormont Councillor, Roxane Villeneuve, was shocked by the dismissal.
“As your elected Councillor, I want to make it very clear that there was no prior consultation with Council, or prior decisions by Council, to terminate Ms. Borelly’s employment here as the Director of Finance with the Township,” she said in a statement to Council a their meeting on Tuesday, July 9. “Furthermore, as your elected Councillor, I am not aware of, or have had any discussions with Council or Township staff, or knowledge, that the municipality is going into a new direction and that it required a shift in senior leadership as suggested by the current CAO. Therefore, I fail to understand how this decision came into effect late Friday afternoon. And, for the record, I completely disagree with the decision taken to dismiss Ms. Borelly.”
Councillor Villeneuve was not the only member of the North Stormont community who had concerns about this shift in senior leadership.
Gerry Montcalm, Past President of the Moose Creek Chamber of Commerce, said that he has had concerns about municipal administration since the dismissal of past CAO Mark Chenier last year.
“Last year they fire the best CAO this municipality had every seen because he would not bend to their (council’s) wishes that could cost the taxpayers money,” he said.
Montcalm said that he and roughly 70 other community members were at Tuesday night’s council meeting. Montcalm claimed that Council has not been shown bills paid by the municipality in four years.
“This is small city politics with big city costs,” he said.
Prior to her three years as Director of Finance with North Stormont, Borelly had 10 years of experience in a private accounting firm, was an Auditor with Elections Canada, an Auditor with Ontario’s Ministry of Finance, and Deputy Treasurer and Treasurer of the Town of Casselman as well as Acting CAO of the Town of Casselman.
Villeneuve credited Borelly for getting the Township’s finances in order. Montcalm claimed that under Borelly, the Township received their first clean third party audit in years last year.
“As recently as this year, Ms. Borelly applied for the position of CAO in this Township and she was considered as one of the top contenders for the job. Yet today, we see her dismissed,” said Villeneuve.