Linked Header

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Former Commissioner of Finance Takes The Stand

The former Commissioner of Finance for the city taking the stand in the defamation lawsuit between the city's pension board and former city councillor John Ferguson.

Daryl Wilson also served as the treasurer on the pension board.

When questioned by pension board lawyer Barry Morrison, he said he had no knowledge of any illegal activity on the board or anyone abusing long-term or permanent disability benefits.

But under cross-examination by the defense, Morrison acknowledged emails from an actuary that stated the city had an abnormally high number of people on permanent disability and the legal definition the city is using may need to be examined.

The trial resumes Wednesday afternoon and is expected to last 6 weeks.

RCMP Identify Body Found In Kingston

RCMP identifying a body found in Kingston as Joseph Rhéal Doucet of Saint John.

The 56-year-old's body discovered in woods off the Backland Road on the Peninsula.

The Mounties called to the scene about 2pm yesterday and remained there until late last night.

An autopsy has been scheduled for later this week to determine the cause of death but there's no indication yet of any foul play.

RCMP Seek Two Men After December Cottage Break-Ins

TheRCMP releasing sketches of two men they think broke into a camp near McDougall Lake last December.

The men were confronted by a neighbour and one of the men assaulted the person and then left in a vehicle believed to be a blue Pontiac Grand Am.

On December 15th and 16th last year, more than a dozen camps in the McDougall Lake and Seeley Lake areas were broken into.

One man is described as white, in his early 20's, blonde or sandy hair,a thin build, a pierced ear wearing camouflage pants and a jacket.

 The second man is of unknown ethnicity in his late teens to early 20's wearing camouflage clothing.

If you can help police, call the St George RCMP at 506-755-1130 or N.B. Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Former Common Councillor Answers Legal Attack

The defense lawyer for former Common Councillor John Ferguson firing his first salvo in the defamation lawsuit filed against Ferguson by the city's pension board.

Rod Gillis argues Ferguson can't be guilty of defamation because any comments about alleged wrongdoing by the pension board was made while he was a councillor and is therefore protected by qualified privilege.

However, pension board lawyer Barry Morrison maintains qualified privilege doesn't apply if there is malice in the comments that were made.

Gillis told jurors Ferguson wanted answers to the city's growing pension deficit but board members who benefitted from changes made to the plan were stonewalling him.

Nature NB Not Happy With Wetland Stretegy

It's open season on over two-thirds of the wetlands in the province......That, according to Nature NB which is expressing concern about whether more wetlands will be lost because of the new strategy unveiled by Provincial Environment Minister Margaret Ann Blaney. 

Vanessa Roy-McDougall of Nature NB tells CHSJ News wetlands will not be protected if they're not mapped and less than 50 per cent of all the wetlands in the province will be regulated until the boundaries are set.

She argues what Blaney rolled out yesterday, in no way, can be considered a long term strategy.

Besides new boundaries, Blaney wants less red tape and reduce the conflicts that have arisen between development and wetland protection.

City To Make Another Attempt At Pension Approval

A meeting will be held in Fredericton this week to try to get a long sought after recommendation that would allow the Provincial M-L-A's to approve changes to the city's pension plan when they come up for a vote.

Mayor Ivan Court says the worst case scenario budget the City Manager has been instructed to draw up with another 6.3 million dollars in cuts is a non-starter. In his view, it is unsustainable.

Court says what the city is asking for are regulatory changes that won't cost the province one red cent.

Meantime, there is speculation at Saint John Transit that additional cuts to city bus service will be coming in the spring.

The City's YM-YWCA Looks To Boost Strong Kids Campaign

The Saint John Y aims to be open to all in the community and to that end their Strong Kids program is an open door campaign.

Executive Director Shilo Boucher says the City has declared it Strong Kids month and the programs offered include child care, health and wellness and youth programs.

She tells us it provides access to all of the Y's programs to folks who otherwise couldn't afford it.

Volunteers will be spinning on bicycles at the Saint John Y location in Prince Edward Square mall until 9 tonight.   All proceeds will go to the Strong Kids campaign.   

For more info, click here

Man's Body Found On The Peninsula

The RCMP in Hampton are investigating the death of a 56 year old man from Saint John whose body was found in a remote wooded area on the Backland Road on the Kingston Peninsula.

An autopsy has been scheduled for later this week to determine the cause of death.

The name of the man who died is being withheld at this time until his family has been properly notified.

Health Minister Visits Uptown Hospital

The provincial Health Minister giving kudos to Saint Joseph's Hospital for its patient-centered, pro-active approach to healthcare.

As part of a fact-finding tour of provincial hospitals, Madeleine Dube paying a visit to the uptown hospital yesterday.

Dube says the doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners at Saint Joseph's are getting out into the community and using the resources that are there--and that's something she'd like to see happening in the rest of the province.

After the upcoming healthcare summit, the Health Minister says they'll be making policy decisions based on their observations.

Sullivan Says Worst-Case Budget Plan is Wise

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.....That's the advice from Councillor Gary Sullivan. He and Councillor Patty Higgins are pushing for a budget plan in case the province denies proposed pension reform packages. 

Several councillors objecting to the worst case budget plan, saying any time taken away from getting those reforms is time wasted.

However, Sullivan tells CHSJ News it's the only smart option, because  if reforms get turned down at the legislature in June, there needs to be something there for the new council.  

City Manager Pat Woods will come up with the plan by March 31st but he warns any more cutting and the city will find it tough, if not impossible, to operate.

Bickering at City Hall Gets Councillor Kicked Out

Bickering in common council last night resulted in one city councilor being thrown out of the chamber. 

Discussion got heated when Councillor Bruce Court alleged councilors were suggesting more spending in closed session, then turning around and publicly pushing cuts at city hall. 

Councillors Donnie Snook felt the comments were directed at him, and took exception. He and Patty Higgins continued to interrupt Court until the Mayor stepped in.

Snook says it's not fair, since the Mayor interrupts councilors all the time

At the time, Snook declined to apologize for what the Mayor said was interference in the debate.