Mayor Leroux expected to leave Russell, UCPR for The Nation CAO job

Joseph Coppolino, with files from Antoine Messier and Gabrielle Vinette
Mayor Leroux expected to leave Russell, UCPR for The Nation CAO job
The Nation municipal council is expected to vote on the appointment of Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux as CAO, which would force him to step down as Mayor and Warden of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. (Photo : File)

The Mayor of Russell and Warden of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) is being tapped to be the Chief Administrative Officer of The Nation municipality, pending the passing of a by-law to approve the appointment which is expected to be tabled at a special closed session council meeting on Tuesday, April 2. 

Several sources independent of each other confirmed that Mayor Pierre Leroux received the job offer and an announcement is expected to be made early next week. 

Leroux began contacting the mayors of the UCPR on Friday, March 29, to inform them he would be resigning from politics and taking on the new position. 

Other sources within the UCPR said they only heard of Leroux’s job offer on Thursday, March 28. They explained that in the event of the warden stepping down from his position, the council would need to name someone on an interim basis until an official election can be held by council.

The Municipality of Russell would also need to appoint a new mayor.

Any decision regarding Leroux’s appointment must be passed by a by-law voted on by The Nation municipal council. A special closed-door session of council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, at 5:30 p.m. 

Position open since January 

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) position in The Nation opened in January after Josée Brizard announced her retirement after six years in the role. 

The job posting, made available on January 4 stated the position offers a salary of $73.15 to $82.80 per hour, and the deadline for applications was January 26. The job posting has since been removed from The Nation’s website. 

According to sources aware of the hiring process at The Nation, two candidates applied for the position, one internal and one external. Leroux did not apply for the position during the initial application window. One candidate was selected, however, they turned down the position in early March. 

Another source indicated that the selection of Leroux came quickly and “as a surprise.” 

Leroux has served as mayor of Russell since 2014 and was first elected councillor in 2010. During that time he has served on the board of the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus and South Nation Conservation. 

Before running for elected office, Leroux owned and operated a convenience store in Casselman, Pierre & Fils Dépanneur/Vidéo. 

The Nation did not respond to Éditions André Paquette’s request for comment.

Complicated time for The Nation 

The revelation comes after a controversial vote at Wednesday’s UCPR council meeting which gave The Nation approval to build a 2,000-unit housing developement along Calypso Road, despite the administration’s objections to the project.

The UCPR council voted unanimously in favour of the project, even though Louis Prévost, UCPR director of planning and forestry, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment warned The Nation that the project would double municipality’s need for water and water services. 

Leroux did not vote on the approval of The Nation’s motion but did speak favourably of the project during the meeting. 

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