Quebec’s municipal commission (CMQ) has found Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN-NDG) borough mayor Sue Montgomery guilty of 11 ethical breaches while in office.
The report cleared her of 17 other charges.
This is the latest development in a years-long saga pitting Montgomery and her former chief of staff Annalisa Harris against the City of Montreal.
All 11 ethical breaches involve a 2019 human resources complaint alleging that Harris harassed two members of the borough staff.
Alain Roy, a judge with the Quebec Municipal Commission (CMQ), found the CDN-NDG mayor guilty of failing to maintain a harassment-free work environment and of harassing two employees, suspending employees without cause, attempting to withhold employees’ pay and lacking respect in a meeting with city officials. She was also found guilty of three counts of conflict of interest in borough council voting — something that Montgomery’s lawyer disputes — disrespecting Montreal comptroller general Alain Bond and more.
The sanctions she will face will be determined in early July. Each ethical breach can result in a 90-day suspension.
“I am disappointed, but not surprised,” Montgomery said in a statement to Global News. She added that she believes the timing of her case, after many delays, is suspiciously coincidental with the upcoming municipal election in the fall.
Earlier in June, Harris filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Montreal, Mayor Valérie Plante and comptroller-general Alain Bond seeking $186,125.00 in damages.
In a statement to Global News in early June, a spokesperson for Mayor Plante’s office lamented Harris’ decision to pursue legal action.
“Unfortunately, Ms. Harris and Ms. Montgomery have chosen to multiply the legal challenges and it’s the citizens of the CDN-NDG borough who are paying the price for this strategy,” said Geneviève Jutras.
“This all started because I saw wrongdoing in the workplace and reported it,” Harris told Global News back in early June. “Then they turned it against me.”
Montgomery says she was asked by Plante to fire her chief of staff over the alleged harassment, but she refused to do so. This led to Montgomery’s ouster from Plante’s Projet Montréal party.
The CMQ will hold a hearing on the sanctions Montgomery will face for the 11 breaches on July 6.
— With files form Annabelle Olivier, Global News