The mayor of Montreal and the borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace are in a full-blown war of words that doesn’t look to be cooling down.
The dispute centres on alleged workplace harassment in the borough. Last year, Montgomery says she was having trouble getting simple questions about the borough budget answered by civil servants.
“What we’re dealing with here is hearsay,” Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace mayor Sue Montgomery told Global News.
“I will not accept that there’s a bad, unhealthy work climate,” countered Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
“In my borough, there’s a history of corruption. I have a duty to make sure that’s not happening.”
Montgomery says she asked Montreal’s comptroller general to investigate. After investigators conducted interviews with borough employees, they flagged something else.
“There’s one person that is accused of doing harassment on two people, both public servants,” Plante explained on Monday.
Montgomery says her chief of staff is accused of harassment.
“Telling someone to do their job is not harassment. If that’s the definition of harshness in our city, we have a problem,” she said.
Montgomery is demanding to see the proof, but Plante says that can’t happen because Montgomery herself is now accused of turning a blind eye to her chief of staff’s alleged behaviour.
“The reason she couldn’t get the report is she was named herself in the report,” said Plante.
“Until I see the proof, I’m not firing her,” said Montgomery, who wonders if her initial questions about initial corruption angered someone working for the borough.
“I think we’re bothering somebody by these questions,” she said.
“There’s doubts about what’s going on in my borough. It’s not clear to me.”
Plante says she offered to relocate the chief of staff to a different job within Projet Montréal.
“It was office work, no contact with public servants whatsoever,” Plante explained.
Montgomery wonders why Plante would even make such an offer, given the accusations her chief of staff faces.
“That doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not okay to harass bureaucrats, but it’s okay to harass party employees? To me, that shows she doesn’t believe the comptroller general’s report, either,” Montgomery said.
The offer to relocate the chief of staff was declined, and Plante is asking Montgomery to find a solution to the problem.
“Montgomery is adding fuel to the fire and making things even worse,” said Snowdon City Councillor Lionel Perez.
“We have a borough council next Monday. What’s the dynamic going to be between her and the borough director?”
Montgomery said she will not resign from her post as mayor, and will continue to battle for justice.