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Mayor of Placesville will have to pay $4,000 for ethics violation

Mayor of Placesville will have to pay $4,000 for ethics violation

The Quebec City Commission is imposing a fine of $4,000, the maximum amount stipulated by law, on Placeville Mayor Pierre Fortier over a contract awarded to a microbrewery in which he is the majority shareholder.

In the Town Hall since 2021, Pierre Fortier also owns agricultural businesses as well as being co-owner of the Jackalhop microbrewery. He is considered a “passive investor” there, acting as a mentor without being involved in day-to-day management.

Because it is the only one on municipal land, the microbrewery has been chosen to brew the official beer of the Plaisirs d'été 2023 event, the largest event of the year in Placesville.

Before the Quebec City Commission, Pierre Fortier argued that if a contract had been entered into, it would have been done without his knowledge, and explained that the city had not been invoiced for the sale of beer.

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According to the facts held by the Administrative Court, this agreement was the initiative of an official responsible for the influence of the city, and during a press conference held on June 15, 2023, Mr. Fortier learned of the existence of the partnership.

However, from that moment on he “could not ignore the situation,” the administrative judge wrote in his final decision.

The judge criticized him for “remaining passive by simply taking no action to find out the details of this agreement and address this situation that put him in breach” of his ethical code.

The court found wrongdoing against the elected official because he had an indirect interest in a contract with the city, while acquitting him of two other crimes.

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“Severe” regulations

In an interview with NewspaperPierre Fortier realizes that he “should have been more vigilant” and says he is still considering the possibility of an appeal.

“I'm not in the day-to-day management of the microbrewery, and I'm not involved in the day-to-day management of events in the city either,” he explains.

Furthermore, he lamented that the regulatory framework is “too stringent” and “very difficult to enforce” in the regions.

“This regulation must be adapted to the regions. It is discriminatory for the entire business class.

The law specifically prohibits elected officials from knowingly having a direct or indirect interest in a contract with a municipality.

Recall that Pierre Fortier has been sharing the title of mayor with Jean-François Labbe since the regrouping of Plessisville with the parish of the same name at the beginning of the year. Mr. Labbe was not affected by the Quebec Municipal Committee's decision.

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