OPP investigates recordings of municipal staff

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A number of recordings of municipal employees have been distributed anonymously throughout the Merrickville-Wolford community. At the council meeting of Monday July 23, Mayor David Nash briefed the public on the in-camera meeting held earlier in the day addressing this issue. “There have been a number of illegal recordings distributed in the community where staff have been taped unbeknownst to them,” David told the public. “We take it very seriously and have notified the OPP.”

Constable Cathy Lindsey, at the OPP Kemptville office, says that, as the investigation is currently in its preliminary stages, there is no confirmation that criminal offences have occurred. That being said, according to Canada’s criminal code, it is illegal for a person to tape a conversation in which they are not involved.

Acting Staff Sergeant Rene Cadieux and Detective Sergeant Anthony Donnelly were present at the in-camera meeting on Monday to be briefed on the situation. According to Mayor Nash, the municipality was told that a detective would be assigned to the case first thing last Tuesday morning. “We had our lawyer here as well, to give us legal advice on it,” he said, and, although council has listened to one of the recordings, he can’t comment on the nature of the tapes, as council’s primary concern at the moment is protecting staff privacy.

According to David, some people received USBs in the mail containing the recordings. Someone then drove around to various homes in a silver SUV, dropping off a CD containing the recordings as well as a transcript. The CD also came with a note saying the municipality has done nothing to address the issues outlined on the tapes. “That’s not true,” says Mayor Nash. “It’s in the hands of the police and they will determine where we go from here and report back to us as soon as they have completed their investigation.”

Due to the sensitive nature of the situation, David said he would not be taking any questions from the floor about the recordings at last Monday’s meeting. Police are urging anyone who may receive, or have received, an unexpected package not to handle it and contact the OPP immediately.

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