Former board chair taken to court

By 
  • July 10, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - Michael Baillargeon, a former candidate for a seat on the Toronto Catholic District School Board, is taking Oliver Carroll to court alleging Carroll improperly influenced the board’s budget process to prevent his daughter from being laid off from her teaching job with the board.

Baillargeon’s application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is supported by an affidavit from trustee Rob Davis.

Carroll denies the allegations in Baillargeon and Davis’s affidavits and vows to fight them in court.

“Michael Baillargeon and the trustee with the affidavit are mistaken about what went on at the board, maybe even confused,” Carroll, the former chair, told The Catholic Register.

Baillargeon alleges that Carroll participated in debates over a motion not to send out lay-off notices to 60 to 85 teachers after declaring a conflict of interest. Carroll’s daughter is a new teacher with the board.

The layoff notices were recommended by board staff to meet the conditions of a three-year deficit elimination plan imposed by the Minister of Education. On the eve of the deadline for sending out layoff notices, Carroll argued that the board should negotiate with Education Minister Kathleen Wynne for a one-year extension on the deficit-elimination plan.

Baillargeon alleges that Carroll persuaded trustee Maria Rizzo to put forward an amendment to a motion to adopt a budget. Rizzo’s amendment delayed further budget cuts until after the deadline for layoff notices.

Neither Baillargeon nor Davis in his supporting affidavit allege that Carroll actually voted not to send out layoff notices. Both also state that trustees met after the May 14 meeting in Rizzo’s home and discussed the budget process.

Rizzo denies she was influenced in proposing her amendment to the motion to adopt a budget, and has said she will back Carroll against the allegations.

On June 4 Wynne appointed Norbert Hartman to supervise the board and take over the budget process. Wynne cited the board’s failure to balance its budget and findings of trustees abusing their expense accounts and voting themselves benefits and expenses not allowed under the Education Act.

Hartman has not announced any plans to have the board meet in the future.

None of the allegations in Baillargeon’s application have been proven in court.

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