BEAVER BANK: The two councillors for the area have weighed in with what they could say about the ongoing situation revolving around the city’s CAO.
Jacques Dube is facing a job review following scrutiny over lengthy—and bizarre—text message he sent to the HRM’s chief financial officer, Amanda Whitewood, that included foul language and violent imagery about murdering someone who likes winter.
He sent the text message, which uses the F-word multiple times, on Feb. 12 to Whitewood, a person he works daily. Dube later said it was a joke and apologized.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation,” said councillor Steve Streatch on April 18. “Council and our staff find ourselves in a sensitive spot.
“Obviously with personnel issues we aren’t to speak, nor should we speak, about it in public about details.”
During open discussions at council—most of which was in-camera as it is a personnel matter—some councillors felt it was a non story and that journalists should be “embarrassed” they’re delving into it.
According to District 14 Councillor Lisa Blackburn, who’s background is as a journalist, if she was on the other side covering council, she too would indeed be looking into it.
“I do know there’s a lot of discussions that some councillors feel it shouldn’t be covered and that reporters should be embarrassed to even be pursuing the story,” said Blackburn. “I don’t necessarily agree with that. Maybe it’s because of my background.
“Listen reporters are the fourth estate. They are there to make sure we make the right decisions, and that they are on the up and up. If something like this is to happen, certainly it is a story and I don’t begrudge any reporters for pursuing it and covering it.”
Streatch said policy is being followed and expects there will come a time when council shares more information with the public in the not-too-distant future.
“I know there is a great deal of frustration in the community but the worst thing in any situation like this is a lack of details because then people start to create their own details,” he said. “That’s unfair to all parities involved, the complainant, the CAO, and council, to start jumping to conclusions.”
Dube issued an apology via email to HRM employees on April 20.That email was given to several media outlets, including The Laker.
In it he said he wished to take the opportunity to address a harassment complaint made against me by another HRM employee.
“I owe you an honest assessment of this situation and not only how I have learned, but how we can all learn from what happened,” he said in the apology email. “I want you to know that at the outset, like all complaints under the HRM Workplace Rights Harassment Prevention Policy, this complaint was taken very seriously.
“Properly, the Mayor and Council ensured that the complaint was independently investigated and that fair conclusions were drawn. Currently, the recommendations from the process are being implemented.”
Dube explained what transpired.
“In my case, I amended and personalized a satirical article from an online publication about snow and snow removal on the eve of a major storm,” he said. “I then sent a text to a colleague absent of any context or regard for how it could be received.
“A complaint was filed and a thorough process undertaken. In this case, the independent investigator found that while I breached the Policy, the incident was isolated and no harm was intended.”
He said he has apologized to the complainant and take this opportunity to tell all of you as well that he was sorry.
“As CAO, I should have known better and not assumed that I had permission to communicate about a matter unrelated to work,” he said. “I have learned a lot from this experience.”
Dube said he recognizes this has impacted his colleagues, Mayor and Council, and HRM as a whole.
“I should have thought about what I was doing before I pressed “send”,” he said. “I didn’t think about the feelings of my colleague and I will always regret it. For that I am sincerely sorry.
“I urge you all to learn from my experience as I did.”