CORNWALL, Ontario – City council met behind closed doors this afternoon to mull offering a whistleblower as much as $250,000 to settle her lawsuit, Seaway News has learned.
A source has confirmed the details are in relation to a $425,000 lawsuit launched against the city by Diane Shay, who worked at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge.
The source added the city is hoping for a settlement that is slightly less, but wants to set the bar at $250,000. Councillors must agree to the move.
The source said some city councillors are miffed that the in-camera meeting has been scheduled just a week before the looming municipal election. Others are also suggesting they want the matter to go to court, instead of settling things beforehand.
Seaway News reached out to other sources following Monday’s meeting, who confirmed the subject matter, but would not get into details about what comes next for the city and Shay.
Coun. Gerry Samson sent an email to local media about the meeting Monday afternoon – but offered no details concerning specifics.
Our coverage of Samson’s press conference can be found here.
Shay is suing the city for $425,000, plus costs, to compensate her for harassment she endured after blowing the whistle on a suspected case of elder abuse at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge.
Shay, currently on long-term disability, said in an interview last month since initiating her lawsuit in January the city has yet to file a response to her request for documents and has made the decision to speak out concerning her ordeal in hopes of educating the public about the plight of whistleblowers.
“This is not so much about money. This is to communicate…how whistleblowers are treated,” she said.
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 even 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.