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Conservation Authority Deputy CAO resigns

Cataraqui Conservation will be the sixth conservation authority for which Ellingwood has worked
North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority Deputy CAO David Ellingwood

The North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority is becoming short on senior management....and employees.

Its Director of Human Resources Mark Bremer recently resigned after going public with the dysfunction and chaos surrounding management and its board of directors. In response, management locked Bremer out of his office.

See: Conservation Authority changes lock on HR Director's office door

It's now revealed that a second senior manager has resigned.

At its February meeting, the Cataraqui Conservation Authority Board announced the appointment of David Ellingwood as its new General Manager. Ellingwood is presently the Director, Water Resources and Deputy CAO of the local conservation authority.

He starts his new job with Cataraqui, in the Napanee-Brockville area, at the end of April. His last day with NBMCA is April 26th, which is the same day as Mark Bremer.

BayToday reached out to Ellingwood for comment but no reply was received.

"Cataraqui Conservation will be the sixth conservation authority for which Ellingwood has worked, beginning with Kawartha Conservation where he had a contract to do conservation education activities at local schools and conservation areas," says the website.

Ellingwood took on multiple roles at North Bay-Mattawa over the last six years, including overseeing source water protection, water resources, lands, flood forecasting, on-site sewage systems, and planning.

Staff walkouts, resignations, unionization, accusations of internal chaos, staff stress leaves, and a firing and have rocked the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority. Legal action is being taken against the Board on a number of fronts.

The CAO Chitra Gowda and the Board Chair Shelley Belanger, and her board have remained silent about the turmoil, reinforcing employee complaints that their concerns are being ignored. The staff recently brought in a union as "an added layer of protection."

Rather than address the issues and fix the problems, the Board is apparently lawyering up, at taxpayers expense.

In a conversation with Board Chair Shelley Belanger last week, she promised to get answers to several questions BayToday has about the complaints of staff and allegations of Bremer about Board inaction.

Later, instead of answers, Belanger issued the following statement,

"We acknowledge the request of BayToday to discuss the comments by Mark Bremer concerning his views of the environment at NBMCA.  

"We note our position that Mr. Bremer’s comments reflect his own views.   Further they are connected to labour relations and human resources matters that, as an employer, we do not address publicly with the press."

Belanger later admitted in an email that the statement had been written by a lawyer.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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