According to Articles 220. and 220.1 of the Quebec Education Act :
Every school board shall prepare an annual report …..and must invite the public to an information meeting by public notice specifying date, time and place 15 days before it is held….. and answer any questions concerning the report …
The annual report includes a Governance and Ethics Report . LBPSB Chairperson Suanne Stein Day (SSD) is not only responsible for the G & E report but she is also chairperson of the Governance and Ethics Committee.
She is responsible to post the reports on the Committee Reports ‘page’ on the LBPSB site but none can be found . This negligence is indicative that the board is neither following the letter nor the spirit of the law , regarding the Governance and Ethics Committee. ( Article 193.1)
From the annual G & E report:
In February, the discussion focused on a request from a citizen addressed to the Ethics Commissioner of the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
I am that citizen .
For about 15 years, I have attended Board meetings and asked questions, and made comments, during the Public Question Periods of the LBPSB Council and Executive Committee meetings. For the vast majority of these meetings , I was the sole member of the ‘public.’
Moreover, for the past few years I have also submitted my questions and comments , in advance, in writing, to the Council, Directorate , Central Parents Committee and Minister of Education and other relevant people. This was done in good faith to provide the board the time and opportunity to seek the information being requested.
June 2012 was no exception.
On June 7, 2012, the Board posted the Public Notice , as required by law, concerning a public meeting on June 26 regarding the Budget . Unfortunately , the parameters regarding the Budget were not available from the government. Hence, through no fault of the board , the Budget part of the meeting was “deferred ” to an adjourned meeting on July 3, to follow the Executive Committee meeting.
( My name was not listed as being in attendance at the June 26, 2012 meeting ; nor was there was an Agenda for the adjourned meeting on July 3, 2012.
However, recorded within the Minutes of these meetings (June 26 and Exec. July 3) – under the heading: Questions from the public:
“C.Eustace, Citizen :
Internal Rules of Management ; reduction of the length of Question Period from twenty minutes to ten minutes ; regarding Bill 88 and school board transparency; on the access to information; the Board’s selection of a messaging system; and a request for a second question period at the Executive Committee ” and “Questions regarding Commissioners’ stipends.”)
The Adjourned Meeting – July 3, 2012
Lacking an Agenda it was impossible to determine if there would be a Question Period…. Chairperson Suanne Stein Day stipulated that adjourned meetings do not have Question Periods…Yet this ruling is contradicted by records showing that previous adjourned meetings did have Question Periods.
Furthermore, this advertised / posted meeting indicated that it was a BUDGET meeting , and the public is invited to ask questions. ( I was the ‘ public.’ )
However, not one question was permitted regarding the Budget 2012-2013.
Why did the Lester B. Pearson School Board refuse to entertain questions on the most important school board meeting of the year – a Budget meeting ?
A complaint was filed with the Board, as the conduct of the Chairperson, merited the intervention of the Ethics Commissioner.
The Ethics Commissioner heard my testimony on April 12 , the Chairman’s testimony on June 21, and rendered a ruling on Aug. 22, 2013.
I was astonished to read the ruling . Some points:
ONE : There was the matter of asking of the chairman claiming to request ” the guard to call the police, ” There was no guard.
Madame Stein Day ordered the webmaster to call the police. That action alone is telling.
( A chairperson asking a school board employee to call the police on a member of the public, on a matter which was clearly not an emergency , is not the right thing to do. It’s unprofessional ).
TWO : Furthermore, ” Mr. Eustace approached the Chair’s table, despite having been told not to do so. ” That is simply, not true.
As there were many people who witnessed what happened, they would be able to verify my account.
…her decision to call for police intervention further to Mr. Eustace’s persistence. The latter kept admonishing the chair, despite her repeated requests to stop.
Earlier in the report it was mentioned that
Ms Stein Day, for her part, claims to have been intimidated by Mr. Eustace’s behaviour.
This can be denied by the witnesses – the commissioners themselves !
If the behaviour was so intimidating , the police should have been called. Why didn’t anyone stand up to protect the Chairperson from this supposed “intimidation ?”
She believed that Mr. Eustace was not complying with her order to stay clear of her and to stop insisting on asking questions.
This is not true. There was no ” order to stay clear…” As with previous comments, there are witnesses.
It should be noted there were at least 15 people present throughout this conduct that SSD alleges occurred.
On August 23, I informed the school board lawyer , the director-general , the judge and my MNA Yolande James of my concerns, and a request. I wrote:
I would like to make clear that I am not questioning the Judge’s opinion. He based his decision on what he heard from 3 parties : School-board lawyer, Mr. R Poliquin ; Chairperson Stein Day and me.
I took an oath to tell the truth and my testimony was taped.
The Request : Please do not destroy the tape(s).
August 26, 2013 – LBPSB Regular Council Meeting – 2nd Public Question period
I asked Chairperson, Suanne Stein Day, whether she took an oath (to tell the truth) and was her testimony taped at the meeting with the Ethics Commissioner. Her answer was ” Yes ” to both parts.
This is the link – the last 2 minutes.
It is evident that Chairperson Stein Day denied me the right to ask any questions concerning Budget 2012-2013. Moreover, part of the the Ethics Commissioner’s report is based on slanderous comments designed to impugn my character and tarnish my reputation.
I have asked Chairperson Suanne Stein Day to release to the public her taped testimony , given under oath , concerning her refusal to allow me to ask questions on the Budget , as legally permitted under the Education Act.
So far, SSD has refused. This is a matter of integrity and credibility.
Since we are both running to be chairperson of the board, the release of the tapes would educate the public regarding the character, values and ethics of those who wish to govern the LBPSB.
The Public Notice and Ethics Commissioner Report