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Friday, March 9, 2012

City Manager Testifies That Pension Board Members Were Cast In A Negative Light

City Manager and pension board trustee Pat Woods continuing his testimony in the John Ferguson defamation trial.

Woods says the language used by Ferguson during comments and presentations about alleged problems with the pension plan cast the board members in a negative light.

He says phrases like "sweeping things under the rug" and "acting like desperate gamblers" would make any reasonable person believe that the pension board was up to illegal activities.

He says that was not the case and refutes defense lawyer Rod Gillis' term of "The Gang of Four" when referring to city staff on the pension board.

Woods says he has never belonged to a gang and is not a thug. 

He adds because Ferguson never publicly revealed his source on the board who allegedly told him of the wrongdoings , it made every board member a suspect in illegal activity.

Girl Facing Arson Charges After Historic Church Burns

An 18-year-old girl will appear in youth court in Fredericton in relation to the December 2011 fire that destroyed the historic St. Ann’s Parish Catholic Church in Kingsclear First Nation.

Charges may also be laid against another a 17 year old as the crown prosecutor’s office is reviewing the file.

The 18 year old girl is appearing in youth court to enter pleas on charges of arson and breach of probation next month because she was 17 at the time of the fire.

Hiring In Province Expected To Remain Flat

With unemployment on the rise in the province, a policy anaylyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Richard Dunn tells CHSJ News don't expect any sort of turnaround for sometime yet. 

He points out that why the C-F-I-B warned against raising the minimum wage too fast and another concern is the rising cost of gas which had been at a three and a half year high. 

In its survey, the C-F-I-B reports 13 per cent of small businesses plan to increase full time employment while 15 per cent say they plan cutbacks.

Unemployment last month in Saint John rose from 7.6 to 7.8 per cent. For New Brunswick, as a whole, it increased from 9.5 to 10.1 per cent.

City Manager Talks About Why Defamation Lawsuit Was Launched

City Manager Pat Woods, who's also a member of the Pension Board, testifying at the defamation trial of the effect allegations made about the Pension Board by former Common Councillor John Ferguson were having.

Woods says the references Ferguson made to Martha Stewart's legal difficulties raised the spectre of wrongdoing with the city's pension plan and rising deficit. 

Woods telling the jury Ferguson offered up no proof of gross negligence. Woods went on to say the Pension Board was under attack and couldn't just sit back.....Some action had to be taken in the face of the allegations because images and reputations were being damaged.

Woods also testified if Ferguson was told by former Pension Board trustee David Gould of wrongdoing, he had an obligation to pass that information along to other members of Common Council or city police but he didn't.

Liberals Calling For Pay Equity

The provincial Liberals wants the province to enact pay equity legislation.

Liberal Leader Victor Boudreau says Thousands of home-support and child care workers in the province are women and are paid a little more than minimum wage.  He says it's finally time to move pay equity forward, especially since reports have already been done on the issue.

He says the Alward government has let the issue fade away.

Boudreau adds the Premier made an election promise to give wage increases to home support workers each year for the next four years but the increase should not be less than what they would get under pay equity.

Minor Hockey Controversy

The mom of a young hockey player from Baxters Corner is worried about her son's safety at the rink. 

Tisha LeBreton says on March 3rd while playing in Hampton her son was both physically and verbally assaulted by a parent of a fellow hockey player who was helping out on the bench. 

She claims her son, Jeffrey had just got out of the penalty box, was going to the bench and was trying to shut the door when another parent grabbed Jeffrey by the shoulder, pushed him down on the bench and was yelling at him.

Jeffrey was kicked off the bench for swearing at a teammate and the referee.

LeBreton goes on to say when she contacted the RCMP, they suggested it was not in my best interest to go ahead with charges, as it would "ruin this other parent's life'. 

She vows none of her children will ever play in Saint John minor hockey again.

Fire At West Side Mill

City fire crews and workers at the Irving Pulp mill on the west side are working together to try to put out an early morning fire. 

It was reported around 2:00 in one of the big wood chip mounds at the mill. 

They were still on the scene several hours later.

Emergency crews were also called out shortly before 6:30 this morning to a serious 2 car collision at Somerset Street and Paradise Row.