Questions Guelph citizens should be asking about Salary-Gate

By Gerry Barker

Posting #776 – May 26, 2016



CAO Ann Pappert is leaving her Chief Administrative Officer position

Ann Pappert tendered her resignation today in the wake of performance issues and public reaction. She is prepared to stay on to facilitate a smooth turn over of her responsibilities to her successor. Her contract ends in October.

It is not known at this time what her plans are.

She is the second senior officer of the city staff to leave in the past few days. Deputy Chief Administration Officer(DCAI), Derrick Thomson, resigned and that leaves just DCAO Mark Amorosi, remaining of the senior staff members hired by the former Farbridge administration. DCAO Scott Stewart, was only hired last December.

To replace Ms. Pappert will take some months as the city restructures its senior management..

The current post continous

We recently learned that in a closed-session last October 13, members of council were asked to rate the performance of Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert. An independent consultant tallied the responses of the 13-member council. It was reported that the CAO’s performance failed to have the support of council. The result, according to the consultant, did not warrant any increase in salary for the CAO. It is important to note that Ms. Pappert was not present at the meeting.

What allegedly followed was a series of recriminations by certain councillors over what they had just collectively stated, therefore there should be no raise. Expressions of remorse including “maybe we were too tough on her” were made, again in closed session.

On December 9, in closed-session, council voted to increase the CAO’s salary by $37,581 for 2015.

Now we learn that the CAO has hired a lawyer, a specialist in human resources cases who will only negotiate with city lawyers. Negotiate what? Ms. Pappert’s exit?

This has become known as “Salary-Gate,” the abuse of power by the administration. It is a clear example of a council exhibiting its arrogance and lack of resolve by supporting this outrageous increase. The thought of renewing this individual’s more than $257,000 contract is a chilling prospect in view of her well documented performance over five years.

Some unanswered questions

QUESTION: Who voted for this increase conducted in closed session?

QUESTION: Did the Mayor vote to pay Ms. Pappert the $37,581 salary increase December 9?

QUESTION: Why was the CAO’s 2015 salary increase stalled until December 9, 2015?

QUESTION: Who determined the amount of the increase?

QUESTION: When and how was that amount calculated?

The Human Resources department, headed by Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO), Mark Amorosi, normally recommends salary increases based on research comparing rates for similar jobs in other municipalities. His boss is CAO Pappert.

QUESTION: Is this not a conflict of interest?

QUESTION: What about the increases given to the three DCAO’s, Mark Amorosi, Al Horsman and Derrick Thomson? The latter two have left the city.

QUESTION: When were they approved and who decided the amount of their substantial increases?

QUESTION: Why is the senior staff involved at all setting their own salary increases?

QUESTION: Why are these details conducted in closed-session?

These four senior managers of the corporation are public servants and the public has the right to know the details of negotiations.

QUESTION: Why has Mayor Cam Guthrie gone to great lengths to support his CAO despite the outcome of the council rejection of any increase for Ms. Pappert, October 13, 2015?

QUESTION: Why did DCAO Mark Amorosi state that the reason the CAO got the raise was because she did not get one in 2014 and she did not request one?

QUESTION: Was the CAO told not to request an increase in the 2014 election year?

QUESTION: Is it possible that former Mayor Karen Farbridge is advising the seven members of the Orange Crush on council to block reform of her failed policies, including awarding excessive executive salary increases?

QUESTION: Were there promises made in the dying days of the Farbridge term to reward her trusted senior staff?

QUESTION: Is there any recourse by citizens to stop the waste of public money and deliberate obstructionism by the Orange Crush majority on council?

In Ontario, there is little citizens can do to recall errant public servants and elected officials, short of being convicted of robbing a bank. In this case, the four executives were in charge of the bank.

This action by the majority of council is reprehensible and a dereliction of their sworn duty toward the citizens of the city.

Why did council not tell us about the salary increases?

In particular, it was a secretive, duplicitous action that only came to light when the provincial Sunshine List of public employees earning more than $100,000 was released in March this year, almost four months after the fact.

Most disturbing is the action of Mayor Guthrie, who has repeatedly avoided involvement in confrontational events requiring his leadership. Earning a resounding victory in October 2014, Mayor Guthrie has failed to follow through on his promises to make a “Better Guelph.” Instead he has squandered obvious opportunities to fulfill his mandate.

His ability to provide leadership of this city is needed more than ever. As time goes by, it is making him less relevant as a mayor and politician. It didn’t have to be that way because there were resources to assist him to overcome the Farbridge stranglehold on city operations.

Instead, he denigrated citizens who objected to the performance of his CAO by summarily dismissing any suggestion that she lacked the ability to do the job. He even threatened one citizen with legal action. That threat disappeared quickly due to the public reaction.

He has been quoted saying that he is receiving calls from mayors and reporters from all over Canada asking how does he do it, what was his secret?

Do what?

This isn’t about selling insurance, big guy; it’s about integrity, toughness and keeping your word. All three of those attributes of your Posting #776leadership are MIA – Missing in Action.

In the meantime, contact your councillor to let them know of you displeasure over this salary case and other serious mismanagement of city finances and operations. There is no shortage of material.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Here is the Council contact list:

Mayor            Cam Guthrie                             519 837 4643


Coun. Dan Gibson                                   519 822 1260 Ext 2502

Coun. Bob Bell                                               519 803 5543


Coun. Andy Van Hellemond   519 822 1260 Ext 2503

Coun. James Gordon                        519 822 1260 Ext 2504


Coun. Phil Allt                                              519 822 1260 Ext 2510

Coun. June Hofland                          519 822 1260 Ext 2505


Coun. Christine Billings              519 826 0567

Coun. Mike Salisbury                       519 822 1260 Ext 2512


Coun. Leanne Piper                             519 822 1260 Ext 2295

Coun. Cathy Downer                         519 822 1260 Ext 2294


Coun. Mark MacKinnon              519 822 1260 Ext 2296

Coun. Karl Wettstein                          519 763 5105












Filed under Between the Lines

7 responses to “Questions Guelph citizens should be asking about Salary-Gate

  1. Rena

    Aww, how I miss the olden days when they would have said ‘off with their heads’.

  2. Andre

    The CAO is hiring a lawyer? Please don’t tell me we are paying for it. Something is obviously cracking, because only Amorosi and Pappert remain, with Horseman moving 8hours away to the Soo, and Thomson taking a drastic pay cut just to get out of dodge – there has to be more to the story. Its beyond me, how City Council has made this entire issue into a political one instead of a business one. Everyday more and more citizens lose their trust in the city, and instead of treating management staff as a routine business, city council has decided to treat them like public policy where Councillors take sides. Obviously, the remaining two need to leave – how many more bad decisions, wasted money or citizen distrust does Council need to realize that. We’re still paying for when Council got rid of Janet Laird and Dereck McGaugan – and how about the building inspector’s $1M lawsuit whats the status on that? Amorosi is in charge of HR and obviously screwed up somewhere that he has lost trust with all the city employees. Pappert – well she is the top official, so the buck stops with her on everything, be it all the wasted money, or performance of city employees. If a Transit driver or garbage man or rink attendant or firefighter had this type of performance, would Amorosi or Pappert or any City Councillor still want that employee serving the citizens? Councillors are setting the tone for all employees to follow, how they allow Amorosi and Pappert off the hook after so many chances. Do any lower-level employees actually respect and look up to their bosses? I wonder if Council ever asks themselves these sorts of questions, because they are 100% responsible for setting the culture of all employees and how they interact/treat the citizens.

  3. geo

    Lets see where Pappert ends up. It was obvious to me she was in way over her head and grossly overpaid but the excuse is always if we don’t pay this exorbitant salary some other city will.
    I doubt she can find another position that pays a third of what she was milking Guelph for.


    News Flash:The Mayor & Council now have a challenge ahead-hope they pay close attention to whom they hire as a replacement and not be taken in by the adage that they’ll have to pay “huge”dollars for whomever they decide to hire utilizing a capable “headhunter” for possible individuals.

  5. Eleanor Ross

    Just heard that Pappert is leaving Sat unknown yet and Derek Thomson is gone next week. Good job.

  6. Eric

    We now need to get rid of Amorosi who is solely responsible for dupping everyone about managers pay and the crap benchmarking study they keep using. Education and experience must be factored into the salary – just like it is for other governments. No or less education or experience means you get paid less regardless what the position is benchmarked for. It should also factor in cost of living because Guelph is a lot cheaper to live than Burlington, Oshawa, Hamilton or Newmarket. Keep in mind, just like in Kitchener the city of Guelph does not manage public health nor welfare, as Wellington County does that for us. Our population and geographic territory sizes are also not particularly large or require special skills, so they can’t use that to increase pay either. I thought they kept telling us, city council makes all the tough decisions, and these managers just implement those decisions. That needs to also reflected in their pay scale. They need to reign in this huge increases because it’s obviously not the norm and Amorosi did quit the sales job the last few years. On top of that, we shouldn’t pay for bad performance or incompetence which has been the case for the last few years. I’m sure we can all list off a dozen of our own individual examples, where waste, incompetence or rude disregard was made by the city under these people.

  7. TJ

    Will the Gang of Seven hijack the hiring process of the next CAO?

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