South Glengarry has ‘major problem’ with ‘terrible’ customer service: Prevost

South Glengarry Deputy Mayor Frank Prevost waves around a paper outlining a case where a resident was fined for having a prefabricated sunroom on his property for 'a couple of years.' Prevost is fed up with how the municipality does business, suggesting the township has a major problem with customer service and communications. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – Facing nearly a half dozen complaints in a week, South Glengarry Deputy Mayor Frank Prevost is fed up with how the municipality is treating its residents.

“There’s a major problem and nobody wants to deal with it,” an emphatic Prevost told council Monday night as he brought up the problem under the guise of other business to discuss.

“This council and administration has to start realizing that we have a major problem with customer service and communications,” Prevost said.

Prevost is irritated with the latest case where he says a man bought a prefabricated sun room a “couple of years ago” and it was sitting on grass on his property. The man was “not under the understanding or impression that he required a permit for that purpose,” Prevost said. However, the man received a registered letter last week with an order to comply with property standards – along with a $75 fine.

“I don’t think that’s customer service. I think that’s totally wrong. Our customer service is terrible,” Prevost added.

The deputy mayor says the situation could have been handled better, such as sending the constituent a letter to contact the township to discuss the issue.

Prevost says he’s also dealt with four complaint calls in less than a week.

“It’s getting very tiring. It’s getting very annoying and somebody needs to acknowledge that we have a customer service and a communication problem in this township office and it has to be dealt with soon,” Prevost said.

“Here, here,” Coun. Lyle Warden quickly added under his breath.

“We need to communicate more with our residents. We can’t keep sending them registered mail and charging them for everything they do,” the deputy mayor said.

But Coun. Bill McKenzie traded barbs with Prevost suggesting any investigation has shown no problem with how the township does business.

“None of them (the investigations) were there a lack of communications or a lack of trying, in any way, of trying to give the customer good service. You know that,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie defensiveness quickly escalated, suggesting Prevost was making sweeping generalities.

“You can’t generalize like that. You have implicated that this township does not give good service and that’s…not…true…and you know it!” McKenzie shouted, jabbing his index finger in the air toward Prevost.

Many councillors thought a process was in place to have CAO Bryan Brown bring a report to council should complaints be registered with the township via councillors.

Coun. Lyle Warden says he’s brought up concerns from the public “and I don’t ever remember a discussion after the fact.”

Mayor Ian McLeod said he would speak with Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Brown and would bring a report back to a future meeting.