Breaking News from CBC on the Continued Rot at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

With a Brief Foreword Note from Niagara At Large publisher and reporter Doug Draper

Posted February 15, 2019 on Niagara At Large

A Note from Doug Draper –

Former NPCA CAO Mark Brickell is reportedly suing the Conservation Authority for $2 million, claiming he was ‘illegally fired’.

CBC reporter Samantha Craggs posted a story this February 15th that once again, should raise questions as to whether the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) can restored to the good public agency it once was, or shut down and replaced with something else.

Craggs’ story focuses on court documents filed by former NPCA CAO Mark Brickell, who is suing the Conservation for $2 million around claims that he was illegally fired by the Conservation Authority this past December.

“In the claim,” according to the CBC story, “Brickell said he was received an email at 5:53 p.m. on Dec. 6 from NPCA legal counsel stating that his employment had been terminated as of 5:01 p.m. that same day, and that at 6:15 p.m. regional council passed a motion to remove the old NPCA board.”

“On Dec. 27,” the CBC story continues, “someone sent an email full of “false and unsubstantiated allegations” against (Brickell) using theemail aconcernedcitizen905@gmail.com. The email was sent to dozens of people, including local media, the NPCA board, Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.”

St. Catharines Regional Councillor and recently appointed NPCA interim board member Brian Heit has recently had disparaging email sent out about him, from one or more persons, using Gmail addresses that, as of this posting, have not been tracked down.

Interestingly enough, Niagara At Large learned recently that St. Catharines Regional Councillor Brian Heit, who was appointed by the Region’s council last December to sit on the NPCA’s board on an interim basis and who has been a long-time critic of the way the Conservation Authority has been doing business, has also been receiving email with defamatory information about him in it, from Gmail accounts with names that are either phony or can’t be traced.

The ugly email Heit received was also circulated to other members of the NPCA board, to a number of local politicians and to media outlets. Heit is still attempting to get to the bottom of who has been circulating this email.

Niagara’s recently sworn in Regional Council appointed 12 of its members this past December to sit on the NPCA board on an interim basis in an attempt to clean up what an Ontario Superior Court Judge recently called the “chaos” at the Conservation Authority, growing numbers of Niagara residents are complaining that the board members are not moving fast enough.

Barbara Greenwood, a Niagara Regional Councillor for Niagara Falls may now be smeared with a censure motion for saying in a newspaper report that David Barrick, the NPCA’s “acting CAO”, should have “been gone a long time ago.” Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan may be facing the same treatment for making similar remarks.

Two of those board members – Niagara Falls Regional Councillor Barbara Greenwood and Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan – now face a censure motion for openly saying that the NPCA’s now “acting CAO” David Barrick should no longer be at the Conservation Authority, or should at least be distanced from the board’s work.

Barrick has worked in at least two administrative positions at the NPCA in recent years and citizens in the region have pointed at him as a key figure in what ails the agency. Barrick, on the other hand, has repeatedly said that he and others on the management team have made the NPCA better.

Niagara At Large wants to stress that at least some of the legal costs of all of this, including an ongoing lawsuit against a respected former NPCA employee that the new board, for some reason we cannot understand, still hasn’t dropped, will be borne by the taxpayers of Niagara since we are currently forced, by provincial law, to cover most of the NPCA’s budget.

The millions of dollars of tax money that goes to the NPCA each year is supposed to be used for restoring and protecting our region’s watersheds!

Now here is the headline and first few paragraphs of the February 15th CBC story, followed by a link you can click on to read the whole story –

Former NPCA head says he was fired amidst forged signatures and anonymous Gmail

Samantha Craggs – CBC News

A former head of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is suing the authority, saying he was fired in a bizarre twist of events that included secret meetings, anonymous Gmail accounts and being asked to choose between money and his reputation.

Mark Brickell filed a lawsuit, worth about $2 million, in Welland court Thursday. Brickell claims he was turfed illegally, and for reasons that are still a mystery to him.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. But the 34-page statement of claim, filed by Toronto lawyer Stephen Moreau, is of House of Cards proportions.

To read the entire CBC story, click on https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5020385

For a related story posted on Niagara At Large this February 14th, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/02/14/dont-let-our-niagara-regional-councillors-slime-three-of-their-best/ .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

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For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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