City staying out of TAG strife: mayor

CORNWALL – While more members of the art gallery board line up for the exit door, Cornwall’s mayor isn’t about to wade into the dysfunction with The Art Gallery (TAG) board.

Former city councillor Mary Ann Hug is the latest director to leave the board, adding to the resignations of chairman Roland Besner, vice chairman Eric Covington and Marc Pilote.

Hug says she gave the resignation a lot of thought before making her intentions known this week.

Greg Kielec left the board last month, shortly after the TAG committee was established after the previous board resigned en masse.

As of Friday, Wyatt Walsh is the president, along with directors Brian Schofield, Lorna Foreman, Kevin Lamoureux and Jamie Gilcig.

An email from TAG on Thursday omits Brian Long as a board member and other media reports suggest he has quit as well.

TAG relies primarily on city tax dollars to operate, receiving $54,985 last year and requesting $70,000 this year.

It’s application will likely come up Friday (Feb. 27) when the city’s budget committee discusses grants to outside agencies.

TAG’s ask for 70-grand is nearly 67 per cent of its revenue and it “would be hard-pressed to keep its doors open to the public on a consistent basis” if it didn’t receive the money, according to its grant request.

The municipal grant application says the organization has 87 members that pay $25.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy says the city is hands-off when it comes to TAG.

“TAG is a separate…it’s an outside agency with the City of Cornwall. We have no say in TAG. TAG is an independent body. They made their own decisions. The only thing as far as council goes is we participate in assisting them with funding. That will be discussed at the next meeting but, then again, not in regards to their board. That is their business…ours is the tax money that goes into it,” the mayor said.

“I would not comment on TAG as far as their board as I would not in regards to the other outside agencies that request funding,” O’Shaughnessy said.

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