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Mayor Baker calls comments by former administrator defamatory

Lake Country’s mayor is firing back at a former employee who has criticized recent actions.

Mayor James Baker is responding to comments Randy Rose, former chief administrative officer, made in a Morning Star article June 20 and in a letter to the editor published by some media. Rose claims the district has spent $1 million on restructuring.

“The allegation of waste is a ridiculous and defamatory assertion,” said Baker in a release.

“The cost of terminating the two employees under this restructure is far less, and will be off-set promptly by economies and new procedures. Rose’s comments are unprofessional, and based on rumours and innuendos, not facts.”

Baker says the purpose of the reorganization is to streamline municipal services, and it has resulted in net savings of $230,000 annually.

“The current council and administration inherited an infrastructure deficit and serious operational problems and the current council and administration are taking action,” said Baker.

Rose questioned a change in building department staff, but Baker says activities will not slow down as the chief building inspector will be assisted by a plan checker to expedite the approval process.

“Numerous developers and contractors have expressed satisfaction with the change in culture and we received much positive feedback from the public as well,” said Baker.

Rose wasn’t impressed with the district’s press release.

“They want to find someone else to blame for their waste,” he said.

There are no savings. It (severance) is an actual hard cost and the money has to come out of reserves to pay for it.”

Rose has expressed his concerns before council already, and he says he’s prepared to do so again.

“My information comes right out of their own financial statements,” he said.

“It’s a waste of money and I will make it known to everyone who will listen.”

Baker is suggesting someone among staff or council may have provided in-camera information to Rose and, as a result, broken provincial laws.

“We’re going to see who will admit to it. Breaching confidentially is an egregious thing and you can’t do it,” said Baker in an interview.

He added that in-camera rules protect the district and staff during restructuring.

When asked if the RCMP will be asked to investigate the alleged breach, Baker said, “Only if we have to if people don’t come forward.”

Rose calls the breach of in-camera claims “posturing,” and says, “I’ve talked to a few people at the (municipal) hall and I can deduce what’s going on.”

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