Cutting and Hunting appointments questioned by community organization umbrella group

By: 
Gordon Lambie
Staff Writer

Last week the Regroupement des organismes communautaires (ROC) de l’Estrie, an organization that groups together health and social service related organizations in the Eastern Townships, issued a press release expressing concern over the appointment of the Townshipper’s Association president and executive director, Gerald Cutting and Rachel Hunting, to the board of directors for the new unified health and social services establishment in the region, the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS.
In the release, ROC Director Claudelle Cyr expressed that the group’s member organizations found it troubling that provincial ministry of health would appoint two representatives from the same organization. “Without questioning the skills of these two directors, are we to believe that there were so few interesting applications that the Minister has no choice but to choose within the same organization?” Cyr asked in the release.
Cyr then goes on to point out that the official announcement of Hunting’s nomination referred to representation of the English community, rather than in her official role as representative for community organizations. “Ms. Hunting will no doubt demonstrate professionalism, but the fact remains she does not have a connection to all 195 organizations present in the territory. Without communication channels, we believe that this position does not really serve the interests of all community organizations.”
Responding to the press release, Hunting expressed that she had heard nothing of the concerns expressed by the ROC until asked about them by The Record.
“I think it is important to note that because of my highly visible role at Townshippers, the wider community will almost always frame my actions within the context of minority language support and representation, however in the context of my appointment to the CIUSSS board I am well qualified to represent expertise in the community sector given my now almost eight years of experience working in the sector (in both the English and majority communities),” Hunting said.
“I take my appointment very seriously and will absolutely work tirelessly, as I do with everything I am involved in, to represent those I am mandated to represent. I am not on the board to represent the interests of my employer.”
Hunting added that she considers it “disappointing but unfortunately not unusual or new” to have an organization suggest that she would not adequately represent the wider community sector because of her status as an English speaker. She declined to comment further on the matter but expressed a similar disappointment in the fact that the ROC would choose to voice their concerns via the media rather than reaching out to her directly.
Speaking with The Record on Tuesday, Cyr explained that the ROC has no issue with there being multiple Anglophone representatives on the board, but is mainly concerned about the fact that one organization would get overlapping representation.
“It is written into the law that the board must have representation from the Anglophone community, and we have no problem with that,” Cyr said, “But Ms. Hunting was named as the representative for community organizations and we find it unfortunate that any one organization, no matter which it was, would get more of a voice.”
Cyr also said that the presence of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie CHUS administration at Townshipper’s Day shortly before the announcements of new board members were made struck the ROC as curious, and she asked for a greater degree of transparency with regard to the selection process.
The ROC director said that the group is not asking that the existing appointments be changed and said that they accept that the decisions come from the ministry level. She added, however, that the press release generated a response on the level of the National Assembly. The Quebec Solidaire party responded to the ROC to say that they are in the process of looking into appointments across the province’s other administrative regions that they have deemed to be suspicious for one reason or another. With regard to what that investigation will ultimately amount to and what other actions might come of it, however, Cyr said she was uncertain.

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