LETTERS: A Tehkummah candidate responds point by point

A personal agenda to be elected to council and an advocate for the people

To the Expositor:

The letter to the editor addressing a Tehkummah “report card” first appeared on Eric Russell’s Facebook page, and then it was posted in Ward’s Store. As the letter is signed “Reeve Eric Russell” were his actions directed by a council motion, or was Eric the reeve acting without authority? Doesn’t Mr. Russell realize that he has put the municipality, individuals, and himself, in a legal liable position?

After careful consideration, I have decided that I can no longer remain silent, allowing my reputation to be ruined. The public slanderous comments can potentially block any future employment for me. I am speaking the truth, based on facts. Should any employer deem that to be an undesirable trait, then that is not a workplace for me.

I compiled this “report card” from agenda reports and minutes. This campaign tool was sent to every electoral household. For my personal safety, the envelope didn’t have a return address. (Look at what happened to my campaign signs.) 

Due to space constraints, I will address some of the points. Email me for the full document.

Point 1. The township’s financial problems: The last income statement I provided in 2017 indicated a surplus position. The financial problems started after my suspension. “The township had to pay $18,000 for an audit” because council decided to proceed with a financial review (Motion 2017-317).

Point 2. Loss of grant: The “report card” implies that applications were not submitted. What grant is Mr. Russell talking about? At meetings, councillors have commented that the OCIF Top Up application was denied because of critical errors. A letter from the approving ministry cites the late filing of the Financial Information Return (which is the responsibility of the municipal auditors) as the reason for denial.

Point 5. Municipal records (this item is not listed on the “report card”): As stated in the legal opinion letter, “the clerk-treasurer’s actions with respect to the Township’s records were entirely within her statutory authority and represent a good faith exercise of her authority to serve the best interests of the municipality.”

As directed by my lawyer, by not publicly disclosing the exact location of the storage unit, I ensured the security of the municipal records. I personally paid for nine of the 11 months of storage rental.

Point 7. Workplace complaint: Ministry of Labour ordered an investigation into a workplace harassment complaint. The municipality had to pay for the investigation. The investigation reports are confidential; however, it should be made known that some respondents were found to exhibit harassing behaviour.

When I filed an OLRB (Ontario Labour Relations Board) xApplication for Unlawful Acts of Reprisal, council passed a motion in January 2018 to hire a lawyer to represent the municipality.

I do not discuss any matter unless I have the facts. I act with professional integrity in accordance with the law, no matter the personal cost.

My personal agenda is to be elected to council and my ulterior motive is to be an advocate for the people of Tehkummah by utilizing my knowledge of municipal management towards the betterment of the community.

Karen AK Gerrard