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John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
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is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

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Posted 10.26.03
Fool's Stanstead, Quebec

JOHN MAHONEY

Award-winning Stanstead Journal editor out of a job - owner says Ross Murray 'resigned'

STANSTEAD, QC | The veteran editor of the 158-year-old Stanstead Journal says he has been "mentally fired" by the new owner, Jean-Yves Durocher of Rock Island.

Ross Murray of Stanstead says he no longer has a contract with the Journal because he resigned from the publisher portion of his job.

"I resigned as publisher," says Murray, "breaking the contract, and he [Durocher] refuses to negotiate a new contract for the position of editor. Mentally, I've been fired. Technically, not."

Murray says he will stay on as editor until December 12, 2003.

"Mister Murray resigned from his contractual obligations on his own," Durocher said in an e-mail dated 10.26.03.

"We will not issue any further comment to you or other media in this matter that is protected by confidentiality clauses of the contract signed between Mr. Murray and Stanstead Journal Publishing Inc."

Durocher declined to answer the following questions:

  • Have you recruited a new editor?
  • If so, who?
  • Who will be the new publisher?
  • Do you foresee any local backlash for firing Murray?
Durocher also e-mailed me that "With prejudice I have received your email...May I suggest, that before publishing any article promoting your interpretations, you consult with counsel and be explained article 298 of the Criminal Code of Canada and article 1457 of the Code Civil du Québec."

Durocher bought the Journal from Murray last July (the newspaper's website has not been updated since the purchase and is effectively moribund). Long-time bookkeeper Al Smith departed earlier this month. Production Manager Phil Desormeaux, a key Journal team member, left to join Canada Customs as an inspector earlier this year.

Murray says he and his wife Debbie and four children plan to remain in the border region. He says he will soon start putting out feelers for freelance writing and editing assignments, and hopes to continue teaching journalism.

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