To whom it may concern:
I was disappointed to read in your newspaper of September 22 that the “Gleaner Staff” featured an article about Hinchinbrooke’s former director general, Kevin Neal. No staff writer put their name to the article or credited the news media where such information was found or consulted with me concerning this case. After working faithfully for Hinchinbrooke for 30 years, maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in the province of Quebec and receiving a medal from the Quebec National Assembly for “Commendable Service to a Municipality,” I find this article deplorable.
Before the 2017 election, a Hinchinbrooke citizen entered the office to deposit his papers as a candidate in the upcoming election. He intended to run in a certain seat which was held by a sitting councillor and Mr. Neal suggested to him that he might want to run for another seat that a councillor was retiring from, so the citizen changed his original choice. Mr. Neal was always looking at the bottom line and at saving taxpayers’ dollars in avoiding an election. Unfortunately, another citizen presented himself for election for that seat and subsequently won the election. The disgruntled citizen then proceeded to check into the election laws and found that a director general cannot give a suggestion as to which seats are vacant or where you would be best placed to win a seat on council. This small technicality is not anything that a director general has not done in the past and I know for a fact that it has been done in other municipalities for the upcoming 2021 election. It is a small technicality that the disgruntled citizen used against Mr. Neal.
Having worked with Kevin Neal for the past eighteen years and as mayor for eight of those, I have always valued Mr. Neal’s leadership, versatility and good management as our director general. I applaud him for his diligent work and do not want Mr. Neal to be remembered for this small technical error with regard to the Elections Quebec Act. He served Hinchinbrooke very well. I applaud him and wish him many years of healthy and happy retirement.
I am not hiding my identity as your newspaper did.
Carolyn T. Cameron, Mayor of Hinchinbrooke
To clarify The Gleaner’s perspective on the points made in the above letter to the editor, it is common practice at The Gleaner when several staff members work on an article it is identified as written by such; there was no intention to hide authorship. While we appreciate that such a topic is of a sensitive nature to those implicated, it was a matter of public record that a person was charged and convicted of a criminal offense and therefore in the public interest to be reported regardless of the individual involved. The Gleaner had previously reported on the same individual receiving a prestigious award for a lifetime of professional achievement, which is fully in line with this publication’s editorial policy to provide balanced and responsible coverage of events important to the community, both the good news and the less good news.