A couple of weeks ago, in response to this story:
I wrote a blog entry (read it here) in which I said:
While I would want to see the terms of his contract before making a final decision on proceeding, the CAO should be fired. The Ombudsman found that he and Caslin were the architects of the unlawful, unjust, and unreasonable seizure of a journalist’s laptop and notes and a citizen blogger’s recording device. Additionally, they violated the Municipal Act by locking the doors to the building when a meeting was in progress and they didn’t pass a motion about why they were going into closed session. That should be enough reason to fire him with cause (which means no severance payment would be required and it is unlikely he would win any lawsuit he brought against the Region for wrongful dismissal) and remove him from the position immediately.
I say I would want to see the terms of his contract before making a final decision, because I would not put it past this group to have put terms into that contract that would result in some variety of unreasonable financial payout should his term be ended early (regardless of the reason). If there is anything in that contract that could easily be fought and would result in the Region spending hundreds of thousands on a lawsuit, I would seek to keep him on staff until the end of his contract and severely limit his ability to influence or make decisions, without also giving him reason to sue for constructive dismissal.
because this is exactly what I was afraid of:
In response to this most recent story, I wrote this on Facebook and Twitter last night:
This is outrageous – and exactly what I was afraid of. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that the CAO should be fired if – and only if – we were certain that he can be fired with cause (no severance, no notice), but if we were not certain, then we would need to look at his contract to find out the terms, in case he had been granted a golden parachute.
And, as it happens, he has, in fact, been granted a golden parachute.
That said, I think it’s still clear that he can be fired with cause (though I’d want the advice of legal counsel who specialize in HR/labour law).
It is an outrage that his contract has been extended, particularly when most of Council seems to know nothing about it, and his hiring has been controversial from day one.
It’s time to #ResetTheRegion. We cannot continue to conduct business in this way.
This Council has spent the last four years in meetings that deal mostly – and at great length – with integrity commissioner reports and the poor behaviour of some of their councillors; slinging mud at each other and going after individual municipalities or politicians in other levels of government; presentations to Council about the mess that is the NPCA and, again, the poor behaviour of some of their councillors.
If you attend or watch Regional Council meetings, you know that many meetings end with Council trying to quickly move through the actual business on the agenda and adopt and accept various items.
It would not surprise me in the least if we learned that Council did, in fact, vote to extend the CAO’s contract, because it was buried in a block of items that they agreed to adopt or that it was given an ambiguous title on the agenda or something of the like.
Frankly, someone on Council needs to have been standing up at each of those meetings where they were rushing to vote on things at the end and saying, “No, I will not conduct the Region’s business in this way. We need to move and adopt these items during a meeting when we have the time to discuss them appropriately.”
We need to Reset the Region to a time when councillors read their report packages and Council meetings were not bogged down in scandal and corruption, so that we can get on with conducting the actual business of our Niagara Regional government.