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.”