How Ann Pappert has transformed from a puppet to a dictator

Posted February 4, 2015

Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert, sees herself as protector of all things Farbridge, her former mentor and provider of the highest priced job in her work history.

Pappert has already chided the mayor for daring to speak to members of the city staff without her permission. Funny, don’t recall her name being on the ballot last October.

She is head of the more than 2,100 city staff. But that does not include directing the elected members of city council to go through her before talking to staff.

Seems that when Mayor Guthrie was a member of council, he was lambasted for daring to demand a public report from a city staffer who refused to give it to him. The result was a protest by five members of council who said they would apply, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), to obtain the report.

What followed was a $10,000 investigation by the integrity commissioner that resulted in an unsubstantiated report, which laid out impropriatory by Guthrie and his FOI council supporters.

What really happened was former Mayor Farbridge and her surrogates stifled any criticism by a member of council.

In another example of dictatorial control by the former mayor, surrogate Pappert ridiculed the petition presented by a group of citizens to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing as a waste of time. She established the city was on solid financial ground. That’s not what the Minister said in her letter referring the matter to be resolved between the petitioners and the city. That never happened because the city refused to engage the citizens. Their terms to make the issues a public event in a suitable location outside city hall, was denied.

Following the Urbacon judgment Ms. Pappert’s next adventure into the land of civic hyperbole was stating that it was her predecessor, former CAO Hans Loewig who fired the general contractor in September 2008. She said he was operating under the CAO bylaw which gave him the power to fire contractors without cause or discussing it with council.

Ms. Pappert’s contract expires in September 2016. She has already requested it be rolled back to June, in the event the city no longer wants to employ her and it will give her an opportunity to seek another job.

Man, if anyone with a wit of intelligence would make a statement like that, regarding her job security, should start dusting off their resume.

Pappert is smart enough to know that her job security is at best tenable, at worse shaky.

So council and Ms. Pappert have choices:

* One, let her stay until her contract expires. Cost to the city 19 months times $209,000 annual salary = $330,916 plus benefits.

The downside of this impairs her ability to get a similar job at the same rate of pay in the same area where she is presently employed. That’s a tall order.

* Two, dismiss her without cause and under Ontario employment law she could receive up to two years pay less legal and moving costs = $418,000

Again, this puts a cloud over her reputation and repairing the event could take some time. Employers would want to know why she was fired.

* Three, council could dismiss her for cause then let the courts decide her compensation.

This event is the toughest for all parties. First, the council supporters of Pappert may balk at dismissing her for cause, or any other reason. This carries political danger for those councillors opposing her dismissal and could haunt them over their term in office and re-election. Second, her source of income would suddenly be cutoff and could take a long time to be settled.

Her best course of action is to realize her days as CAO of Guelph are numbered regardless. Time to negotiate a settlement and move on. As the saying goes, “It’s easier to get a job when you have a job.”






Filed under Between the Lines

3 responses to “How Ann Pappert has transformed from a puppet to a dictator

  1. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Gerry – There is a 3rd option. Tell Pappert right now that her contract will not be renewed and immediately start a search for a replacement. Hire the replacement as soon as he/she is available to work along side of Pappert to do the bidding of council. Hopefully Pappert will get the drift of what’s going on and bail out early. Kind of Machiavellian, but a good comeuppance for a “dictator in her own mind”, Eh! It would also send a clear message that the followers of the previous mayor are on notice that the status quo ain’t.

    • Glen N. Tolhurst: That is a fair way of changing the guard at the Carden Street Palace. Whether it happens or not is another question. To me, the new council has been handed a rock courtesy of the previous regime. Beats me how they can plan a budget without knowing the real numbers left by the previous council, some members are still around. Perhaps the best approach would be to adopt the 2014 budget for 2015. That will give some control over ambitious departmental plans that include hiring more staff and embarking on capital spending projects without knowing the real financial picture. The annual FIR report to the province will surface well after the budget deadline of March 31. This corner believes there is a need for an independent financial review.

      The delicious irony is that Linda Jeffrey, the former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, who rejected a citizens request for an auditor Guelph’s finances, is now calling for one in her new job as Mayor of Brampton. Go figure.

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Adopting the 2014 budget for 2015 would be a fatal mistake as it would in effect say “we don’t know what we are doing”. A better way would be to come in with a bare bones 2015 budget tied to 2014 CPI and see who screams “blue murder” the most. One way to force the issue. By all means, council should contract with the ex Ontario auditor general for an audit of the Guelph accounts. The reported cost for his audit of Brampton was $75k. A similar fee would be well worth it here. Time to quit yakking about it and get moving!!

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