Questionable expenses at the OCPM | The secretary general had been dismissed from a post of chief of staff

The secretary general of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), Guy Grenier, is not his first problem in the municipal world. Now in the spotlight because of the organization’s questionable spending on travel, restaurant meals and expensive equipment purchases, he was dismissed from his post as chief of staff in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 2018.

The affair even led to the suspension of former mayor Alain Laplante for 95 days, due to the “contempt for the public interest” demonstrated by his actions to prevent the dismissal of his friend Guy Grenier. In its decision, the Quebec Municipal Commission (CMQ) deplored the “diversion of the executive committee for partisan purposes and reprisals” and “conflicts of interest”.

The current secretary general of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal was Alain Laplante’s chief of staff for four months, in 2017 and 2018, before leaving despite the mayor’s maneuvers.

The last days, The Montreal Journal published a series of articles on numerous questionable expenses by Grenier and OCPM staff. The daily also explained how the former president of the Office and current president of the Montreal executive committee, Dominique Ollivier, recruited Grenier after being her business associate within Ki3, the consulting firm they co-founded.

Conflicts of interest

In 2017, Guy Grenier became chief of staff to the new mayor of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a minority on the municipal council. The nine majority members quickly criticized him for his “political” role. In towns with less than 100,000 inhabitants, political attachés are nevertheless considered “civil servants”, subject to their authority, affirmed the director general. But Grenier refused to submit to his directives.

The majority councilors also criticized him for his “dual employment”: while occupying his executive functions in the City, he remained president of the Ki3 consulting firm. Armed with a legal opinion on the dispute, the majority’s advisors finally voted for his dismissal in the spring of 2018.

After having worked only four months for the City in 2017 and 2018, Guy Grenier received six months of salary, in accordance with his employment contract, confirms the litigation of the City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

In its judgment against Alain Laplante, the CMQ recounted in 2019 how the ex-mayor had taken sides against his own city by participating in the debates on the dismissal of his friend Guy Grenier. In May 2018, he even accompanied his former chief of staff in his negotiations with the City as part of his lawsuit.


Before becoming his chief of staff, Guy Grenier (right) tried in vain to be elected to the team of Alain Laplante (left), elected mayor of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 2017, before being suspended in 2019 by the Quebec Municipal Commission, then losing power in 2021.

The administrative judge deplores the way in which Laplante “used all means” to avoid freeing up a budget to allow his own city to pay its legal costs against Grenier.

“Wanting to prevent one’s city from being defended before the court is a gesture which seriously harms its interests, with the obvious aim of benefiting Guy Grenier, who would then face an unrepresented opposing party,” decides the judge.

Serial prosecutions

Since his dismissal in spring 2018, Guy Grenier has filed a series of lawsuits for defamation and to have his dismissal overturned. He is claiming $465,470 from the City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in salary and compensation, for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021. In addition, the Administrative Labor Tribunal confirmed on November 3 that it would examine his complaints at subject of his dismissal.

Grenier also filed another action to overturn his dismissal, but the Superior Court rejected it last January.

According to the City’s litigation, Grenier’s actions against the municipality cost $259,704, paid in fees for his defense to the Fasken law firm.

“Incessant cabal”

Today director general of the City of Trois-Rivières, François Vaillancourt was director general of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu at the time. In interview with The Press, he explains how the mayor’s “incessant cabal” ultimately led to his work stoppage in 2019. “You feel very, very, very bad,” he says. Nobody wants to go through that. »

In addition to suing the City, Grenier has initiated proceedings against him personally and against the councilors of the majority in the 2018 municipal council. He is seeking $482,308 from them in salary and damages.

François Vaillancourt recounts how ex-mayor Alain Laplante suspended him “clearly out of vindictiveness”, after Grenier’s dismissal. “Advisors from his team said: ‘You have terminated the employment relationship of the chief of staff, we are suspending the DG’,” he says. The city council then reinstated him less than a week later.

François Vaillancourt left the City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in 2020 for a senior job in the Quebec government, then another position as general manager in Trois-Rivières, in 2022.

The Press was unable to contact Guy Grenier. His lawyer, Sylvain Beauchamp, refused to answer our questions.

Same response from the former mayor of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. “I have no comments,” Alain Laplante simply replied, before hanging up.

In an interview with Montreal Journal On Wednesday, the president of the OCPM declared that Grenier was “the best candidate” to become secretary general of the organization, despite his setbacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

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