Editor's note: Originally, this story said a group of councillors in Harbour Grace had pushed for the resignations of both the mayor and deputy mayor. However, that should have read just the mayor was asked to resign. The Compass apologizes for the error. The adjustment has been made in the story.
© Photo by Melissa Jenkins
Kathy Tetford is a councillor with the Town of Harbour Grace
Harbour Grace councillor Kathy Tetford is looking to bring closure to the issues surrounding the resignation of two senior town officials late last month.
That's why at the town's Feb. 13 regular council meeting, Tetford tabled the resignation letters of both Ashley Janes, former chief administrative officer, and Jennifer Janes, former facilitiesâ manager.
During the portion of the meeting reserved for committee reports, Tetford stood as she presented the letters to her fellow councillors and the nine residents in attendance.
âI thought it would bring a bit of closure to it,â Tetford said of her reasoning to read the letters.
The councillor said there has been talk on various social media sites that the two employees had left their positions abruptly and without notice or resignation letters.
These rumours were a driving force in what drove Tetford to read the letters aloud and have them entered into public record.
âPeople were asking why, and I think those letters spell it out,â she said. âHopefully, that will help and bring closure.â
Under the Municipalities Act, because the letters were tabled at a public meeting, they become public record and are made available for public inspection. Ordinarily, personnel matters like this are discussed at privileged meetings.
Due to this, The Compass has obtained copies of the resignation letters.
Jenniferâs resignation letter was dated Jan. 22.
She writes âI would like to thank the town council for this opportunity, however I feel that it is in my best interest that I no longer continue my duties as facilities manager.â
The letter continues to say Jennifer took the position to bring new programs, services and ideas that would serve all residents of Harbour Grace.
It is then she reveals her ideas were met with opposition, and she was put into situations where her âmorals, ethics, and professionals and educational knowledge were challenged and to the point that I felt threatened.
âI could not foresee this threat going away unless I was to put my professional ethics aside and that is not something that I am willing to do,â she wrote.
Jennifer would go on to thank council for the support she received from them during her employment at the stadium.
Ashleyâs resignation was tendered a day prior to Jennifers.
âThis is a position that I was looking forward to with great energy and enthusiasm,â she wrote.
Her letter shows support for Jennifer.
âDue to unanticipated restrictions surrounding the potential threat to our facilities managerâs career and that facility, I no longer feel that I can work within this framework. I fear that the necessary remedies to resolve this issue and move forward will not be realized to my complete satisfaction,â it reads.
Ashley would conclude her letter thanking the town for the âopportunity and for the confidence you have expressed in my abilities.â
Ashley and Jennifer are sisters-in-law, and have repeatedly declined interview requests from The Compass.
It is unknown what "threats" Jennifer is referring to.
Leading to this point
On Jan. 23, word broke both the newly hired CAO and facilities manager had left their high profile positions with the municipality.
Over the next couple of weeks, the town council in Harbour Grace was inundated with inquiries about the reasons behind their sudden departure.
In the aftermath, infighting amongst members of the council took centre stage as the group took steps to rectify the staffing crisis it had suddenly found itself in.
This infighting reached a climax when a group of councillors pushed for the resignation of Mayor Terry Barnes.
Several embarrassing incidents also came to light in recent weeks, including an unsanctioned Boxing Day hockey event at the S. W. Moores Memorial Arena that resulted in the termination of a longtime employee.
A senior hockey game at the arena was also cancelled after the first period when the ice resurfacer ran out of propane, and dumped boiling water on the playing surface.
With the resignation letters out in the open, Tetford hopes the council can now move forward with some other issues facing the community.
The town has yet to fill the two vacant positions. In the interim, town office employee Sean OâBrien has been serving as CAO and Maureen Maher is filling the role of facilitiesâ manager.
âWe need to get back to the business of the town,â she said.