Police called to Pouch Cove meeting

Emotions run high in Pouch Cove as police are called to keep the peace outside a closed-door council meeting focused on the town's controversial mayor.
Pouch Cove Mayor Sarah Patten had no comment as she left a closed-door council meeting on Monday night. (CBC)

Emotions ran high in Pouch Cove on Monday night, as police were called to keep the peace outside a closed-door council meeting while residents heard little from the mayor at the centre of two separate controversies.

This summer the council voted that Mayor Sarah Patten was in a conflict of interest because of her job with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, and she also is involved in a land dispute between her and an aging relative.

Pouch Cove resident Henry Jordan has filed a lawsuit against Patten to secure ownership of property he insists he never agreed to sell. (CBC)

"I voted for the mayor in the last election. Did I do wrong by it?" said John Hurst, one of dozens of residents who showed up at the town hall on Monday evening.

Council voted to keep its door closed while it discussed the conflict-of-interest allegation with an official with the Department of Municipal Affairs.

Patten is the executive secretary of NAPE, which also represents workers in the town.

Last week, CBC News reported that Patten is locked in a dispute with resident Henry Jordan, who claims that Patten is trying to sell land that he maintains he still owns. Patten claims to have a $400 bill of sale that dates back to 1971, although she didn't register it for 40 years.

Jordan has been paying tax on the land through the years, and insists he never knowingly sold the land to Patten, a relative by marriage.

The controversy has sparked concern in the town.

Sarah Patten is at the centre of two controversies, including a vote by other councillors that her NAPE position puts her in a conflict of interest. (CBC )

"It'd be nice to hear it from her," said resident Tony Vokey. "We're after hearing his side of the story on the news ... but she's been keeping pretty closed lipped. I was kind of curious to hear what she had to say."

Patten did not speak with citizens or reporters before the meeting, or as she left council chambers.

Coun. Roxana Furlong said it may take some time before anyone can legally and publicly discuss what happened during the council meeting.

Residents left the town hall knowing little more about either issue.

"The mayor thinks we're all out for her but we just want to know the truth," resident Melina Osmond said. "We want to know what happened with Municipal Affairs."