Effort to oust EMSB's temporary trustee fails; judge denies injunction

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By Adam Kovac, CTV News Montreal

An effort to oust the temporary trustee in charge of the English Montreal School Board has failed after a judge denied a request for an injunction.

The request was filed by EMSB Chairman Joe Ortona and several elected commissioners. In the request, Ortona and his co-plaintiffs argued that Marlene Jennings, the former Member of Parliament who was named trustee by the provincial government in November, did not have the authority to call a special board meeting.

In September, Ortona and nine commissioners were acclaimed to the EMSB’s Council of Commissioners after running unopposed for the vacant positions. One commissioner’s seat remains un-filled because there are opposing candidates in that ward, who will face off when now-postponed school board elections are rescheduled. The complaint alleged that following the acclamation of the new commissioners, Jennings no longer had authority to call meetings.

In the ruling, the judge said Ortona “does not have standing to act on behalf of EMSB” and that Jennings would remain in her position until Nov. 6, the planned date for the end of her mandate.

In an interview with CTV News, Jennings said she believes the effort to oust her as trustee came due to her overhauling the by-laws of the board, which are set to pass on Wednesday.

Jennings said she was “dismayed that the council did not use these past months to learn about good governance.”

Ortona said the injunction request was made to ensure the law is being followed and that he is disappointed with the decision.

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