By William Fagan
I write regarding The Telegram article of Sept. 11, “Lawyer quits cases over relationship with mayor.” Additional information needs to be added.
One of the appeal cases that was lost on a technicality was the Neary appeal, and council had relied on the lawyer for advice in voting on this alleged conflict of interest.
Because this appeal was lost, Mr. Neary was paid over $14,000 for his own legal fees and over $24,000 in back pay for the time he was not on council, plus we paid the lawyer $48,000 for this case.
The so-called “hailstorm” of emails referred to by the lawyer in the article were part of another case he was working on.
Coun. Moses Tucker should not be shocked to know that councillors are divided on that case, with him and two other councilors on one side, and the other four of us on the other. The lawyer met with the four of us at one time to discuss this case and I had obtained about 20 emails from Municipal Affairs under the Access to Information Act and forwarded these to him for this file.
This was not done unbeknownst to a council majority. I tabled five of these emails at the council meeting this week; one was a letter to the minister from Coun. Tucker and two other councillors with accusations against the mayor and deputy mayor.
I also tabled an email from Coun. Tucker using the words “potential conflict of interest” as an argument why I should vacate my seat on council. But the words “potential conflict of interest” do not exist in the Municipalities Act.
I will again state that I make no apologies for questioning how the town’s money is being spent on legal fees. The town has no procedures
for hiring and monitoring the work of lawyers. I introduced draft procedures in 2011 but they were not adopted.
This must be a first task of a new council.
A new council should also try and resolve issues in-house rather than sending internal issues off to the media for debate. We need to build a positive image as a town.
William Fagan is the mayor of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s.