Posted April 11, 2014
It was reported that Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Ann Papert, says, “Under the CAO bylaw, the CAO has the full administrative delegated authority from city council to make administrative decisions. This, she adds, includes cancelling contracts.”
“Furthermore, the CAO does not receive direction from the mayor or any individual member of council.” She said. “ Only council as a whole gives direction to city staff.”
If that is true, why do we elect a mayor to lead the city? Just let the CAO make all the decisions. Does Pappert want us to believe that a CAO would, on his or her own, proceed to cancel a $42 million contract without consulting the mayor?
To do so would make a competent mayor to quickly end that CAO’s career.
Judge Donald MacKenzie, who ruled that the city wrongfully dismissed Urbacon Building Group Corp, only judged on the evidence produced at trial. His decision however has raised questions about this latest statement by Pappert.
Is Pappert suggesting that the mayor cannot fire the CAO? She certainly makes an effort to conclude the CAO is invincible and cannot be dismissed. Seems like that has already happened in Guelph when the mayor fired CAO, Larry Kotseff, in 2007.
Pappert says Loewig acted on his own without consulting the mayor or council. And further, he consulted lawyers, professional consultants and staff members responsible for managing the project before firing the builder of the new city hall.
Okay, Pappert, give us the names of the lawyers, the consultants and staff members who advised Mr. Loewig to fire the contractor.
While you are at it, give us a copy of the CAO bylaw that gives the CAO carte blanche to run the city as you describe it.
Also what role did city solicitor, Lois Payne, now retired, have when this was going on? The same could be said for retired city clerk Lois Giles, keeper of the records including resolutions and minutes of council meetings.
It appears strange that the only person who is still around is Mayor Karen Far bridge, and she’s not talking.
Stop misleading the people Pappert. It is clear that Loewig did not act on his own. The mayor panicked when Urbacon, saddled with change orders, could not meet the completion deadline. In fact the company had missed two completion deadlines. Trial evidence revealed there was animosity between the contractor and city officials. The mayor was involved in making the decision to terminate the contract and used Loewig to administer the termination.
Judge MacKenzie saw through this charade and, based on the evidence ruled against the city. It should be noted that neither the mayor nor Loewig or city solicitor gave testimony at last year’s civil trial.
Is Ann Pappert the new patsy to cover up for the mayor?
It should also be noted that Loewig was given a lush CAO job making a $195,000 starting salary in November 2008, two months after firing Urbacon. He was awarded a four-year deal with a number of perks including getting eight weeks of unpaid leave while acting as the Chief Administrative Officer for the city. When he left in December 2012, he was making $203,000.
How does that work? As the top public servant how does he administer when he’s not there?
Does this begin to smell like the barber’s cat after a night on the town?
Pappert’s continuing campaign to insist that Loewig acted without consulting the mayor or council, fails the smell test. And Judge MacKenzie, an independent authority, figured it out.
It’s another reason now to figure out why the GrassRoots Guelph (GRG) petition presented to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, requesting an independent audit of the city’s finances and operations, was turned down. The minister said it was a local matter.
Well, that Minister has since resigned. Her officials confirmed that the figures and data in the petition were accurate. GRG has requested the Ministry officials to arrange a meeting between the city and GRG as the former minister offered to have her officials facilitate. As of this date, there has been no response.
Citizens should now be questioning the City of Guelph’s administration, including the role of Mayor and CAO. It is one that has been operating in a cocoon for eight years, covering up and denying the rights of the public to know the details how their city is being managed.
The public well of trust has been emptied. The time has come to judge whether to support a mayor and council that will not accept responsibity to inform and tell the truth.
The day of reckoning occurs October 27, 2014.