Sue Montgomery's request for access to harassment report rejected by judge

Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce’s embattled borough mayor, Sue Montgomery, may have lost her first legal battle Tuesday, but she’s not throwing in the towel just yet.

Quebec Superior Court rules the matter should be resolved in civil court in the coming months

Sue Montgomery, mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, continues to defend her chief of staff, Annalisa Harris, and refuses to fire her despite the harassment allegations. (Claire Loewen/CBC)

Update: Borough director Stéphane Plante was reinstated at a borough council meeting March 11, after a four-to-one vote to lift his suspension. 

Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce's embattled borough mayor, Sue Montgomery, may have lost her first legal battle Tuesday, but she's not throwing in the towel just yet.

"I will not fire someone without giving them due process," said Montgomery in a statement after a Quebec Superior Court judge rejected her request to access city reports that detail the alleged harassment of two borough employees by her chief of staff, Annalisa Harris.

She said she cannot act on a report she has not seen and she has not seen any evidence of psychological harassment. 

"The City of Montreal needs to be transparent," she said. "Three months later, I still have not seen the report."

Montgomery, who was elected in 2017, was kicked out of the Projet Montréal party on Jan. 24 for her refusal to fire Harris following a harassment investigation by the city's comptroller general. 

On Tuesday morning, the court ruled that while Montgomery could have a point, her request isn't urgent. If it was urgent, the judge said, the borough mayor should have filed her request back in February.

The judge did say, however, he wants the case to be resolved as early as May in civil court and no later than September.

Last week, Montgomery suspended one of the alleged victims, borough director Stéphane Plante, without pay.

According to testimony from the city's comptroller general, Montgomery showed up to a meeting two weeks ago, accompanied by her chief of staff, and Plante got up and left.

Montgomery suspended Plante for two days for insubordination. When Plante did not go back to work, the borough mayor prolonged the suspension to 17 days.

The borough mayor has continued to defend her chief of staff's competence and professionalism.

It's expected that the controversy will again spill over into Wednesday night's borough council meeting as councillors and citizens demand answers as to why she suspended Plante, who has served the borough since 2008 — hired by the borough's former, now disgraced mayor Michael Applebaum.

Plante was the borough's director back when Applebaum and borough staff were investigated for possible corruption. Plante was never accused of wrongdoing.

Plante declined to comment on the situation Tuesday, saying it's a legal matter now and he cannot speak to the media.

with files from Antoni Nerestant


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