CAO Loewig Guelph’s Donald Trump?

CAO Loewig: Guelph’s Donald Trump?

Any employee of the city who is invited outside in the hall by Chief Administration Officer Hans Loewig better have their resumes ready.

Such was the recent case of Chief Financial Officer Margaret Neubauer who was waiting in the council chamber for the meeting to begin when Loewig asked her to step out in the hall.

“You’re fired!” as the CAO aped the Donald.

Ms. Neubauer left the building. Her severance according to the city’s rules will be some $36,000.  But hold on to your hat folks. If she is smart, she will obtain the services of a good labour lawyer and sue the city for wrongful dismissal.

There is ample case history that a worker has the right to seek redress through the courts when fired in such a shabby way, thereby deflating her opportunity to seek new employment.

The abrupt dismissal, done in such a public manner, has damaged her professional reputation and there can be a cost in terms of punitive damages.

The city’s only defence firing was evidence the employee was stealing public funds. If that is the case, why weren’t the police called in?

It’s a good bet that old argument about a personality conflict causing the firing will surface in the next few months. Sorry but that’s not a valid reason for dismissal without cause.

That’s why the city is keeping mum about her dismissal without cause. They’ll wait for the lawsuit writ to drop and not provide evidence before the case is heard. They may be clumsy but not totally dumb.

And Loewig is pretty good at dumping staff. Last year some eight employees were fired without cause. Cost to taxpayers is projected to top  $1.06 million. Some 83 employees left the City last year, leaving an experience gap of 700 years.

It’s ironic: Loewig is a lame duck because he’s leaving the city at the end of this year.

The city has hired a headhunting firm to seek a replacement costing $40,000. Guess what Loewig’s severance package will cost taxpayers?

Gerry Barker
Editor of Guelph Speaks

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