Laval suspends 2 city execs set to testify at corruption inquiry

Laval's city manager and assistant city manager have been suspended in anticipation of their appearances before the Charbonneau Commission.
Laval's city manager and assistant city manager have been suspended with pay in anticipation of their testimony before the Charbonneau Commission. (CBC)

The City of Laval has suspended two senior executives ahead of their scheduled testimony at the Quebec corruption inquiry.

The decision was made without any dissent in a meeting that lasted only a few minutes on Monday afternoon.

As city manager, Gaétan Turbide has held his job as Laval's highest ranking employee for a total of five years.

He and assistant city manager Jean Roberge both worked closely with former mayor Gilles Vaillancourt.

Vaillancourt resigned last fall in the wake of corruption allegations.  

Some city councillors say suspending the executives before they testify at the corruption inquiry sends the wrong message.

"People who will go before the Charbonneau Commission, are they risking being suspended one day?" asked Claire LeBel, an independent councillor for Concorde-Bois-de-Boulogne. 

LeBel said she is concerned the move might discourage others from testifying. 

Emilio Migliozzi, an unelected member of Mouvement Lavallois, said the decision does not make sense.

"You're suspending two employees, your top-notch employees, and they have no proof yet," he said.

But independent councillor Jacques St-Jean said being proactive is important when it comes to corruption.

"Suppose we leave them there and at the Commission Charbonneau they prove us something was bad. People will say 'you didn't move, you didn't make a decision,'" he said. 

Turbide and Roberge will continue to be paid during their suspensions.

Laval city council will decide whether the pair will get their jobs back once they have finished their testimonies before the corruption inquiry.