EMSB chair manipulative, incapable of accepting responsibility, report finds

Angela Mancini, chair of the English Montreal School Board, is completely intolerant of any opinions that differ from her own and the Quebec government should declare her and all of her supporters ineligible to run for office, says a confidential report tabled by the board Tuesday.

Commissioners received a copy of the report’s seven-page executive summary with all names, aside from Mancini’s, redacted.

A copy was obtained by CBC News and its authenticity was confirmed by two sources within the EMSB.

CBC News has not seen the full, 278-page report.

It was prepared by Steven Droz, of Steven Droz & Associates Inc., a firm that specializes in human resources and labour relations.

The EMSB has been under trusteeship since November after a 10-month probe found irregularities in awarding of contracts and issues with the board’s management and human resources.

Retired MP Marlene Jennings has been the board’s trustee ever since and she hired Droz to investigate harassment complaints made by Mancini.

The latest controversy to befall the EMSB comes only months before it will be turned into a service centre, along with other English school boards, under a law adopted earlier this year by the Coalition Avenir Qu├ębec government.

Mancini found to ‘hide, deny, misrepresent’

According to Droz’s report, Mancini filed a six-page complaint in January about harassment she allegedly faced over a four-year period.

Mancini included a 15-page summary and dozens of supporting documents to prove she was the victim of “all forms of harassment, including psychological harassment.”

Droz says he conducted “exhaustive” one-on-one interviews totalling 25 to 30 hours each with Macnini and two others, though those two names are redacted.

From the onset, Droz says, Mancini’s “self-portrait was that of a transparent, patient, collaborative chairman who was an active listener and who sought and accepted different points of view prior to making decisions in the best interests of the EMSB’s students, parents staff and taxpayers.”

“I believe that this self-portrait is simply not correct, at all,” he writes.

The evidence, according to the report, shows that Mancini was “utterly unwilling and incapable of taking any responsibility whatsoever with respect to her own causal actions and behaviours during the past four years.”

Droz writes that Mancini has gone through great, and in some cases, never-ending lengths to “hide, deny, misrepresent, pressure, manipulate, twist, alter and blame others for her own causal wrongdoings.”

The report accuses Mancini of violating the board’s policies on harassment, ethics and professional conduct.

It also accuses her of violating the province’s Education Act via “her repeated and forced entry into the day-to-day operations of the board that are supposed to be left to the director general and the administration team to manage.”

CBC News made several attempts to contact Mancini Tuesday evening, but she could not be reached for comment.

In the past, Mancini has said it was she who warned the province’s education minister of management problems within the EMSB, and was unwilling to “take all the blame.”

“We told him it cannot go on like this,” she said last September. “There are things that are not quite right in our school board.”

Mancini should be ineligible to run, report says

Under the CAQ’s reforms, English service centres will have four community representatives, four staff members and between eight and seventeen parents in charge under the recently passed education reform law that abolished school boards in Quebec.

Droz says the provincial government should take the “unusual but necessary steps” to bar Mancini from running in the service centre election on Nov. 6, and any other election. He says the government should also make her supporters and proxies ineligible.

The government should consider extending that recommendation to other past and present EMSB commissioners as well, Droz writes.

Most commissioners contacted declined to comment or didn’t respond. They were ordered to secrecy during Tuesday’s meeting and told the report was to remain confidential.

However, EMSB vice-chair Joe Ortona said he is satisfied with the “thorough investigation” carried out by the firm.

He said the provincial government should review the report and consider its recommendations.

“I hope that appropriate action will be taken,” said Ortona. “That’s what should happen when people abuse their power that way.”

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