Marcus Tabachnick, the longtime chairman of the Lester B. Pearson School Board who resigned in March, says there is nothing illegal about his new job, selling energy management services to public institutions, including Quebec school boards.
During last week’s LBPSB school board meeting, a question was raised by a member of the public about Tabachnick’s new job with Ameresco Canada Inc. and whether it was above board.
On Monday, Tabachnick, 60, defended his right to work for Ameresco, a national firm specializing in alternative energy solutions and building renewal projects.
“I did ask the board’s legal counsel before I left about this and I was told there was no problem in any way, shape or form,” said Tabachnick. “There’s no conflict of interest.”
He said he spent two and a half days recently manning a booth at the Quebec English School Board’s meeting in Gatineau for his new employer.
“Aside from one individual at the public board meeting last Monday, there have been no complaints,” Tabachnick said.
He added his business plan is to offer Ameresco services to other public health institutions in Quebec and many more school boards.
Several French-language boards have contracts with Ameresco but not the LBPSB.
David Birnbaum is executive director of the Quebec English School Board Association, an organization representing the nine English school boards in the province, including the LBPSB.
“There is not an iota of a question of impropriety,” said Birnbaum. “Every due diligence was done. There’s absolutely no preclusion from an individual moving on.”
While it may seem unfair to some, Janise Riven, a professor of corporate governance at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business noted we all take the knowledge and contacts we acquire at an “old job” to a “new job,” if we move on.
In most cases, Riven said: “The legitimate taxpayers’ concerns would be addressed by an objective tender process.”