JAG Member critical of bickering

By Tanya Collier, Cape Breton Post, January 14, 1999
An extensive discussion over money paid to some Joint Action Group (JAG) employees provoked one steering committee member to refocus the group during a meeting Wednesday.

Shirley Christmas, a member of JAG and the Membertou band council, noted although she attends meetings regularly she often doesn't have a lot to say.

But she says, the "infighting" which lasted nearly an hour during the meeting at the council chambers needed to be addressed.

We are going downhill. When I first started at JAG I came for a reason - what's out there," she said, while pointing in the direction of the Sydney tar ponds.

"That's why I'm here. I'm not here to discuss their (those employed by JAG) finances. I'm here to talk about getting rid of what's out there."

Meeting after meeting, the same irrelevant issues are discussed, she continued.

"We're not children, but we act like it."

She noted the JAG secretariat spends a lot of time listening to relevant and irrelevant issues from group members.

"If we don't have respect for these people (JAG secretariat), we don't have respect for ourselves or for what's out there."

She then addressed spectators who sat through the three-hour meeting, which began at 5:30pm.

"They came here to see if we came up with anything new to clean up the tar ponds, not to listen to this."

Christmas then said if the same issues are discussed during the upcoming JAG roundtable, she will get up and leave and will not return although it has never been her intention to resign.

Following her impromptu speech, spectators and members of the steering committee clapped and some stood to show they supported her comments.

John Fraser, chair of governance, said JAG members are put on notice that governance will pursue any misconduct by the members.

His statement was a result of comments made both during the meeting and earlier to a media outlet concerning the amount of money paid to employed members of the group.

"Those (not following procedure) must understand the seriousness of the situation and what they are doing to JAG," added Fraser

JAG staff members say they are being harassed

By Tanya Collier, Cape Breton Post, January 15, 1999
Two paid staff members of the Joint Action Group say they can no longer endure harassment from a volunteer member of JAG - and they are threatening to quit. Mike Britten, program co-ordinator, and Germaine LeMoine, public information officer, said they will no longer tolerate verbal attacks from Mark Ferris, chair of JAG site security subworking group.

The employees claim Ferris questions them on a daily basis about an alleged salary increase approved by the JAG secretariat.

Carl (Bucky) Buchanan, JAG chairperson, said he confers regularly with Ferris about the issue and attempted to clarify the misunderstanding. He told Ferris no raises were granted and Brittenžs wages are determined through a Canada Exchange Agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard. JAG is billed by the coast guard for Britten's services, he added.

Buchanan noted all salaries are approved by JAG sub-committees and are confidential in nature. The issue came to a head this week during a steering committee meeting.

Paid JAG employees not only ones harrassed!

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