Municipal politics in Brownsburg-Chatham are emotionally-charged and beset with challenges.
During her opening remarks and proclamations at the March 5 council meeting, Mayor Catherine Trickey addressed concerns that there is tension among the administration at the town hall.
Director-General Hervé Rivet was absent at the March 5 meeting, adding to speculation about his future with the municipality. However, Trickey would not give any credence to it publicly.
“We have complete confidence in our director-general,” she said, adding that Rivet was absent for “family reasons.”
Trickey also addressed an investigation of her activities that is being undertaken by the Québec department of municipal affairs.
“There is no collusion or corruption in the city of Brownsburg-Chatham,” stated the mayor.
An inspector from the department has been meeting with Trickey and council members involving the mayor spending $2,500 from the municipal treasury for municipal legal fees.
“These were legal fees for the benefit of the city,” stated Trickey.
Mayors in Quebec cannot authorize any spending without the consent of council. Trickey has long maintained that the legal expenses were related to difficulties with the former director-general.
In a telephone interview during the week before the last council meeting, Rivet acknowledged the investigation by municipal affairs was taking place. He said it resulted from tensions between the mayor and council that have since been resolved but that the complaint process still had to run its course.
The now-repealed motion calling for Trickey’s resignation resulted from council objections to the legal expenses.
Meanwhile, some citizens who routinely scrutinize the activities of the municipal government in Brownsburg-Chatham are formally organizing a citizen’s group.
They have founded Citoyens Unis de Brownsburg-Chatham (United Citizens of Brownsburg-Chatham) with the intention of influencing municipal politics and administration.
Former councillor Martin Charron is one of the organizers. He said there is a lot of factionalism in the municipality that is leftover from the merger of the village of Brownsburg with the township of Chatham back in 1999.
Charron said there are also concerns over high property taxes.
He insisted he is not planning to re-enter municipal politics and that the new group is not intended to be a political party with any ideological affiliation aimed at replacing the current mayor and council.
All that the organization wants to do is make suggestions to council and administration on how to better serve citizens and ensure laws are respected, according to Charron.
Charron has also founded Groupe le Citoyenniste—an online source of commentary about municipal government in Argenteuil, but mostly focused on Brownsburg-Chatham.
No executive has been formed for Citoyens Unis de Brownsburg-Chatham yet. The founding meeting is to take place on March 25.