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Ormstown mayor suspended over ethical code breaches

The mayor of Ormstown, Christine McAleer, has been suspended for a period of 40 days without pay following sanctions imposed by the Direction des enquêtes et des poursuites en intégrité municipale (DEPIM), the jurisdictional division of the Commission municipale du Québec. The suspension started on December 23, the date of McAleer’s hearing, where she admitted to having breached the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Elected Officials on three occasions between January and June 2022. 

All three of the accusations of breach of conduct stem from directions or actions on the part of the mayor that were made or carried out without a municipal council resolution. 

On or around January 7, the mayor was accused of requiring the director general to issue directives to municipal employees, some of which were not legal, concerning their presence at the town hall in the context of public health measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In late February or early March, the mayor banned parking in front of a residence in response to complaints by residents. Municipal no parking signs were installed by municipal employees. The issue was later discussed at a municipal council meeting in April, following additional complaints by citizens.

Finally, on or around June 28, McAleer made another personal decision to ask municipal employees to install information signs outside the town hall. 

According to an article in the Journal le St-François, lawyers for the DEPIM concluded the mayor’s actions contributed to a climate of “unease and confusion” among municipal employees, and in some cases the public, regarding the decision-making powers attributed to the director general and to the mayor. 

McAleer acknowledged that proper procedure had not been followed in these instances and said she wants to avoid doing this again. 

She received a ten-day suspension without pay for the first and third breaches of conduct, while the second resulted in a 20-day suspension without pay. 

The Gleaner is following this story closely, with more details to be published in the January 25 edition of the newspaper.

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