From CKWS News March 01, 2011.
WHEN CONTACTED AT HOME, MORRIS REFUSED TO BE INTERVIEWED BY CKWS BUT HE DID RELEASE A BRIEF STATEMENT…. EXPRESSING SURPRISE OVER HIS SUDDEN DISMISSAL.
“I AM INCREDIBLY SURPRISED BY THIS DEVELOPMENT ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THE OVERALL RATING OF “VERY GOOD” I RECEIVED FROM THE TOWNSHIP ON A FORMAL PERFORMANCE EVALUATION CONDUCTED IN OCTOBER 2010.’
MORRIS GOES ON TO SAY:
” I AM SEEKING FORMAL LEGAL ADVICE ON THIS MATTER. ”
For the fourth time in five years, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is in the market for a chief administrative officer.
The municipality is looking for a replacement for Malcolm Morris, who took over as CAOni in May 2010.
On Friday, a notice appeared on the township’s website stating “Effective February 25, 2011, Malcolm Morris is no longer with the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands as our CAO.
“Our structure has been under review and this will be a high priority for council to complete.”
The notice did not give a reason for Morris’ departure.
No one is saying why the position became vacant so suddenly. A message left at Morris’ home on Monday was not returned. Messages left with Mayor Bruce Bryan were not returned, either.
Council held a special meeting in camera Thursday night to discuss, according to the council agenda, “personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees as it pertains to human resources.”
Council then went into open session and passed a resolution stating “Council approved the confidential discussion regarding the position of CAO as presented.”
The notice about Morris’ departure appeared on the township’s website the next morning.
Morris left his position as director of transportation with the City of Kingston last spring to take the CAO job. He was one of 46 candidates who applied to replace former CAO Stephen Clark, who was elected MPP for Leeds Grenville in a byelection earlier in the year.
“I am delighted and honoured to be here,” Morris said following his hiring. He said he was looking forward to a “fun ride” and “making the township the very best it can be.”
Morris was hired by a search committee that included all seven members of council, five of whom were replaced in last October’s municipal election.
Former mayor Frank Kinsella, who was defeated by Bryan in the election, was on the search committee.
Kinsella sent a letter to the Whig-Standard on Monday expressing his concern over what he called a “dismissal.”
“Many area residents are shocked to hear that the Council of the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands dismissed the Chief Administrative Officer, Malcolm Morris,” he wrote.
“This is stunning news because Mr. Morris has an outstanding reputation from his previous work for the City of Kingston, he was given a very positive performance review for his work in this Township on October 21st, 2010, and community groups and residents attending Council meetings have observed that Mr. Morris has shown himself to be balanced, knowledgeable and (a) professional representative on municipal matters.”
The new council members who worked with Morris for the past four months are Bryan and councillors Heidi Conarroe, Harold Emmons, Brigitte Lesage-Tye and Wendy Merkley. Only Tom Lawler and Velma Kelsey remain from the previous council.
Morris was the latest through the township’s revolving door of CAOs. Clark took the post in the summer of 2009, replacing John Theriault, who left in May of that year to become CAO of Champlain Township, east of Ottawa. Theriault held the Leeds and Thousand Islands job for three years after replacing John Trudgeon.
The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, which has a population of approximately 10,000, is bordered by Seeleys Bay to the west, Lyndhurst to the north, Lansdowne to the south and Charleston Lake to the east.
From Kingston Whig Standard