Richmond County reacts to resignation of warden following firing of CAO
'I feel he was the only smart one that was there,' resident says of Jason MacLean's resignation
Residents of Richmond County don't appear to be happy about Warden Jason MacLean's decision to step down at a council committee of the whole Monday evening.
His announcement follows the dismissal of the county's CAO Kent MacIntyre last week.
The warden's decision is the talk of the town in the Municipality of the County of Richmond.
"I think he has no choice in the matter right now," said Dwayne Horwill, a resident of Richmond County. "I feel he was the only smart one that was there."
MacLean stepped down as warden after he said council had become dysfunctional. But he remains as councillor for District 5.
"I think he made the decisions for the right reasons," said Lisa Boudreau, chair of the Isle Madame Tourism and Trade Association.
Boudreau was at Monday's meeting.
She said as warden, MacLean was undermined by council regarding many decisions.
"I think he has a greater voice as a councillor around the table than as a warden," said Boudreau.
Boudreau is disappointed by the dismissal of the CAO as well. Three councillors, Brian Marchand, Gilbert Boucher and Alvin Martell, voted to fire him.
"I think we've lost a great CAO," she said. "His mannerisms and style spoke a lot, he was able to get groups together, he was able to start to give people a little bit of hope that we had a leader that believes in the tourism and economic development projects that were immiment."
Gerry Bourque was one of nearly 80 people at Monday's meeting.
"I think it's a total disgrace," said Bourque of the dismissal of CAO Kent MacIntyre.
Bourque served as a Richmond County councillor from 1985-2004.
He and 17 other former councillors have sent a letter of concern to Nova Scotia's minister responsible for municipal affairs.
Bourque speculated that some councillors wanted the CAO to do things he didn't agree with. "And when they couldn't get their own way, they decided they were going to get rid of him."
Bourque said he had concerns back in 2016 when council was downsized from 10 to five councillors.
"And one of the reasons was exactly what is happening today," he said. "I was very concerned that a small group could hijack council and that's what we're seeing now."
One of the requests to the minister from the former councillors is that Richmond County's municipal election be held this October, instead of in 2020.
CBC contacted both former warden Jason MacLean and deputy warden Brian Marchand for interviews but both declined.