News Tempers flare at West Nipissing council over Staff-Council Relations Policy issue SHARE ON: Rocco Frangione, staff Thursday, Jun. 13th, 2019 West Nipissing council (Supplied by Livestream) West Nipissing councillor Lise Senecal’s Notice of Motion dealing with a contravention of the municipality’s Staff-Council Relations Policy made for a testy start to council Tuesday. After Senecal was able to change a portion of the motion to reflect a proposed amendment, Councillor Chris Fisher wanted the motion removed and reworked and brought back at a future meeting. Fisher’s concern was that the way the motion was worded, it could be construed as defamation of character, libel and harassment. Lise Senecal disagreed saying she does not name anyone and did not believe she was harassing anyone. As the debate proceeded for a few more minutes councillor Jeremy Seguin suggested it should move in-camera because there were names on the document. In response, Mayor Joanne Savage indicated there was no need to go into closed session because this was not a complaint. Fisher disagreed saying the documentation contained wording asking the person to see an attached email and Fisher adds that email contained names. Lise Senecal defended her position saying the document did not go public, it went to council and that she did not name anyone. At this point, CAO Jay Barbeau was asked to help clarify matters and he said even if a name is not said out loud, when a document (with names) is introduced at council in an open session, what’s contained in it becomes part of the public record. Once Barbeau was finished with his explanation, Senecal said she would take responsibility for what got out there and added this was something that she had not done on purpose. Councillor Dan Roveda was the next to weigh in on the matter saying it didn’t matter whether Senecal accepted responsibility. He said what happened was wrong because a name was mentioned in an email document. Roveda went further and said it seemed once again there was a vicious attack against one of the employees. Tensions escalated moments later when Mayor Joanne Savage said she reviews the council agenda weekly with the CAO and said if there was a confidential matter, that discussion should have taken place between her and Barbeau. Councillor Roland Larabie interrupted on a Point or Order interpreting the Mayor’s words as an attack against Barbeau. “No I’m not”, said Savage. “Yes you are,” Larabie shot back. “You’re saying he (Barbeau) should have brought it to our attention.” Savage told Larabie he was showing a lack of respect for the Chair. From the beginning of the council meeting to the end, this debate to remove the Notice Motion lasted about 24 minutes. It was finally removed in a 5-4 recorded vote with the Mayor, Lise Senecal, Denis Senecal and Yvon Duhaime in favour of leaving it on the agenda for debate.