What are the details of the new CAO and DCAO’s pay packages?

By Gerry Barker

July 14, 2016

With the departure of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Ann Pappert, questions arise over the details of her replacement and new CAO Derrick Thomson’s replacement as head of operations.

You will recall that when Ms. Pappert informed council of her resignation, Mr. Thomson had already resigned and had taken a job with the Town of Caledon where he is a resident.

Fast forward to within days of Pappert’s resignation; the city announced that Thomson accepted the job offered by, at the time, his former employer. It was the top staff job in the city.

Then, in his new job, he appointed former subordinate, Colleen Clack, to replace him as head of Operations and Guelph Transit.

Ms. Clack earned $142,017 in 2015 as General Manager of Culture, Tourism and Community Investment. So, when is the administration going to tell us her new salary and benefits package as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO)? The former occupant of that job was Mr. Thomson whose 2015 salary was $207,554 plus a taxable benefit of $6,472.

Is it just a coincidence that Mr. Thomson and Mr. Amorosi, who do not live in Guelph, each were paid identical taxed benefits of $6,472? Over the space of a year that figure represents a lot of travel and other personal related expenses. Do they submit receipts to claim that taxable benefit?

In this case Corporate Services, DCAO Mark Amorosi, in charge of staff human relations, should explain to citizens the salary and benefits that Ms. Clack will receive in her new position. And please, don’t wait until the release of the 2017 Sunshine List next March to discover her pay package.

Even then, the public won’t learn Ms. Clack’s real salary package because her pay will not reflect a full year as DCAO.

The same problem exists with Mr. Thomson. In June, he inherited the CAO job in which Ms. Pappert was paid $257,248 plus a $6,508 taxable benefit in 2015. Is he now in line to receive a $50,000 increase to match that of his predecessor?

This is another example of the veiled secrecy and lack of moral turpitude practised by senior staff and council in the past nine years.

Mayor Guthrie has stated council must protect the staff from criticism because they cannot defend themselves. That’s what he said in January 2015 when guelphspeaks posted a reference to discussions about Ms. Pappert’s contract being conducted behind closed doors.

He was so angry over the leak from a closed door session, that he attacked me personally by sending an email to an undisclosed number of people to ignore me because, he claimed, I did not get facts right. All he accomplished was to confirm that Ms. Pappert’s contract negotions were underway.

Since then, the mayor has proven to be the one who doesn’t get the facts right. And he has an edge because he presides over those closed sessions frequently conducted by council.

His actions over the past 19 months show him to stay away from controversy, bend to the will of the Bloc of Seven Farbridge supporters and protect his self-image.

Don’t the people who pay the bills top the pecking order of protection in public organizations? Not if you believe the mayor.

Now, he is considering running for a second term in 2018. He had better count on an act of God to make that happen. He has permanently fouled the nest of public opinion.

His Waterloo arrived when he did not disclose the huge senior staff increases for 2015 that were approved in another closed session December 9, 2015. The public was never informed. The only way it was revealed was through the provincially mandated Sun Shine List published last March, more than three months after the council approval.

This was no small mistake. It was a deliberate attempt to cover up a totally unjustifiable increase to senior executives. Mayor Guthrie should have announced the details in open council. Instead he, and members of council, hid behind a Farbridge-inspired procedural bylaw that forced all members of council not to reveal any details of closed sessions.

Having said that, perhaps the mayor can explain why council did not call the Integrity Commissioner to investigate a closed session leak. Coun. Mike Salisbury confessed that he sent details of the January 25 closed session to a “friendly” blogger Adam A. Donaldson, in which five members of the Bloc of Seven walked out in protest.

Apparently that breaking of the bylaw was not worthy of an investigation by the Integrity Commissioner, Robert Swayze.

There are many instances where Mayor Guthrie has failed to act on behalf of the people who elected him.

He has a chance to redeem himself in the upcoming 2017 budget talks by cracking down on spending, rebuilding the tattered reserve funds and call a halt to those closed sessions.

It is so convenient to schmooze behind closed doors, frequently discussing subjects not included in the official reason for the meeting.

Conducting most of the city’s business in private has been going on far to long.




Filed under Between the Lines

10 responses to “What are the details of the new CAO and DCAO’s pay packages?


    One would think that the City could advise the citizens that these individuals have been contracted for their new positions and such contracts are,as agreed between the City & the incumbents,confidential personal matters and thus are not made public?Are these contracts subject to exclusion from release under the Access to Information Act?

  2. David T. Starr

    I love reading your stuff!

  3. Marc

    I was in Ottawa earlier this week for work, and all over their local media yesterday, was Ottawa city council’s approval of staff severances and restructuring. How come their council has to do it in public, while ours does everything behind closed doors? Also they did a consultation with council, and 75 outside stakeholders. Of the millions Pappert-Amorosi-Thompson spent on employee severances during their reign (including the building inspector lawsuit) I never remember hearing about any report justifying it or consultation or public council meeting where citizens can show up and speak to. Where are our savings? Here is the news article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/major-shakeup-ottawa-city-hall-1.3677674 Where was Mayor Guthrie when all this was happening? He was defending Pappert and telling people to ignore Gerry Barker. – Did the group of seven make him do that too? He definitely was not protecting taxpayers interests. And to further betray the taxpayer, he turns around and fast tracks hiring Thompson in the closed room without telling us the contract details and why it had to be done without public input. And then, under his watch, Thompson quickly hires Clack in another high paying job we aren’t told the contract details and why it had to be done like that. – Did the group of seven make him do that too? This Mayor is no more a phony than the last one and I was fooled once, and won’t be getting my vote again.

  4. Hello?

    Good to contrast what is going on in Ottawa. A city manager who has consulted broadly and is making changes based on savings, “which Mayor Jim Watson said will create “a more streamlined organization that will be more responsive to the public.” The mayor also said that management changes are not to affect city services.”
    In Guelph, being more responsive equates to a staff recommendation for a million dollar calling system.

  5. Rena

    Unfortunately I think that the Mayor as well as staff are ALL tone deaf. They don’t seem to have received the message. The sad fact is we have to wait till the next election.

  6. geo

    The next election should mark the end of the ward system. Guelph would not be a financial basket case today if the all our Councillors had to stand for election before the entire City, just like the Mayor does.

  7. geo

    You think June Hofland would be a repeat offender if she had to stand before the whole City? She would probably get lost while campaigning and her re-election team would have to wait for the police to bring her home.

  8. Mary Heyens

    Thanks Marc for the link to the Ottawa City Council’s approval of staff severances and restructuring. Guelph city council needs to be accountable to the residents of Guelph, and not to each other behind closed doors.

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