Scandal-plagued city loses fourth straight town manager

MONTREAL – Montreal has lost another city manager, the latest in a string to leave its scandal-plagued municipal government under unusual circumstances.

Guy Hebert, who held the role as the city’s top unelected employee, was asked to leave today by Mayor Michael Applebaum.

The mayor said the functionary acted inappropriately in an ongoing power struggle with the city’s police chief and, had he stayed on, the climate at city hall would have been “unbearable.”

A report in Montreal La Presse newspaper said last week that the police force was investigating the awarding of a telecommunications contract in which Hebert’s office was involved — and, at the same time, he was working to get the police chief fired.

Hebert has denied seeking the police chief’s resignation but, according to Applebaum, he apparently admitted in a meeting today that he carried their dispute “too far.”

Since 2006, four straight city managers have quit while embroiled in controversy or over reasons that were never publicly explained.

A provincial corruption inquiry is currently examining the dealings at city hall since the 1990s.

One recent city manager, Claude Leger, has testified at the inquiry about having seen inappropriate things at city hall but failed to stop them. Another, Robert Abdallah, has been accused of wrongdoing but has vehemently denied the accusation. Abdallah has not testified so far.

One more, Louis Rocquet, was brought in to clean things up at city in 2009 — but he quit two years later in the fallout from allegations about the illicit monitoring of the city auditor-general’s personal communications.

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