News West Nipissing council not happy about being kept in the dark with contract talks SHARE ON: Rocco Frangione, staff Thursday, Dec. 5th, 2019 Mayor Joanne Savage says staff should have kept council informed over recent contract talks with its two CUPE locals. (Supplied by Livestream) Although the Municipality of West Nipissing has new collective agreements with its unionized workers, members of council are not pleased with how the negotiating process was carried out. Mayor Joanne Savage says agreements with CUPE Locals 53501 which represent office employees, public works and community services and CUPE Local 3502 which includes the water and sewer employees, were ratified in June, members of council were kept in the dark with the entire process. Savage said council was not told that collective agreements were ending last year and council wasn’t even asked by staff what a threshold should be during the negotiations. “We should have been informed,” Savage said. “Moving forward I think it’s critical that members of council are duly informed of the steps. Not that it’s part of our duty, but we do have a commitment as the gatekeepers of the financial affairs of the municipality.” Councillor Denis Senecal was tougher with his choice of words. Senecal said he had “a problem with not being informed” about contract negotiations. And he pointed out this wasn’t the first time council was left out of the loop. “This is the second time this has happened,” he said. “First it was with the firefighter dispatchers. It’s a total lack of respect for our Mayor. I don’t see why our CAO can’t communicate with our Mayor.” Senecal said that communications opportunity was there because the Mayor is at town hall regularly. For his part, CAO Jay Barbeau told council it’s been a strange year. However, Barbeau apologized for not informing council of the status of talks. He said typically these matters would have been brought to council’s attention but that wasn’t the case this time. The agreements run three years. Barbeau said the settlements were fairly simple to achieve and both sides are happy with the outcome.