Tag Archives: Becker

Implications

Posting this as received from Mr. Becker. [We have added the link to the Ww post referred to in the 3rd paragraph; the writing was dated Feb. 3 but it was posted here Feb. 5.] We have added a comment following Mr. Becker’s submission.

Some  IMPORTANT IMPLICATIONS of BRIDEAU’S RESIGNATION as CAO

Lutz E. Becker / Feb. 14, 2011

On February 09, 2011 during the Special Council meeting the Council “… reluctantly accepted the resignation of chief administrative officer Roy Brideau …” as Stead stated in a press release. This Special Council meeting was held before the “kindergarden” budget meeting later on that evening where Stead did not mention the resignation of Brideau keeping the attending citizens (deliberately?) in the dark.

Without any additional information I see two important implications which have to be clarified to Wolfville citizens right away.

The first is the “Brideau vacation issue” (see my article at the Post office or on Wolfvillewatch, dated Feb. 03, 2011). Hereafter, the reader will find some additional info:

  • · During the question period at CoC-meeting on Feb. 07, 2011 the Town clerk Turner – sitting in for the vacationing Brideau – made the seemingly stupid remark that the motion to allow Brideau 8 weeks vacation (including 2 weeks from 2012) had been passed in an in-camera session. I have a problem to believe that she was not familiar with the fact that the Municipal Government Act requires motions to be taken outside of in-camera sessions and regard her remark as deceptive or proof of incompetence.  Mr. Daniels recalls that Turner claimed as well that the Council could give instructions to the Mayor in camera. From a legal point of view this is wrong as well. Council can only give instructions to staff or the Town solicitor. The Mayor is neither.
  • · Anyhow, Stead stated first that the vacation issue had been his sole decision and that there had been no need to bring it to the Council table. After Oldham then had a private word with him he changed his mind stating that Council had passed a motion. Going back in the published minutes for more than 6 months no such motion could be found. Did the Mayor really try to lie to the public? I would regard such an action as deception or an indication of incompetence.

It has to be clarified how many paid vacation days Brideau will be entitled to take considering his resignation date.

The second issue is related to a severance pay and my understanding of the conditions of the Brideau Employment Contract. The Contract, dated May 27, 1996 with the amendment dated August 18, 1997, reads under the paragraph Termination:

  • · “Roy Brideau may terminate employment under this Employment Contract by giving at least three (3) months advance notice in writing to the Town. If Roy Brideau so requests, the Town may waive such notice, in all or in part and if the Town does so, Roy Brideau’s entitlement to remuneration and benefits under this Contract ceases on the date the Town waives such notice.”
  • · “The Town may terminate Roy Brideau’s employment under this Contract without notice or payment in lieu of notice, for cause.”
  • · “In addition the Town may terminate Roy’s employment under this clause at its sole discretion for any reason without cause, by paying in lieu of notice one year of salary during the first ten years of Roy’s employment under the employment contract (commencing May 1996) and in addition one month of salary for each additional year of employment beyond ten years.”
  • · “Pay in lieu of notice will be calculated on the basis of the annual base salary as of the date of the notice of termination. Pay in lieu of notice will be provided according to the then current Town policy on the payment of salaries and shall be subject to all deductions and withholdings required by law.”

It is my understanding that according to these employment conditions Brideau is not entitled to a severance pay due to the fact that he resigned and that it was not the Town terminating his contract.

I am elated (like an Egyptian) for a lot of different reasons about the resignation of Brideau. The most positive one is that Brideau’s initiative will save the Wolfville tax payer about $142,238.00 which otherwise would have to be paid to him as severance.

We will bet that Mr. Becker has had some legal advice. The section of the MGA referred to concerning closed meetings reads:

(3) No decision shall be made at a private council meeting except a decision concerning procedural matters or to give direction to staff of, or solicitors for, the municipality.

(4) A record which is open to the public shall be made, noting the fact that council met in private, the type of matter that was discussed, as set out in subsection (2) and the date, but no other information.

Notice that there is a distinction made between matters that can be discussed in closed session and decisions which must be approved in open session. If we read the Act correctly Council could discuss this personnel matter in closed session but had to make the “decision” or approval on it in a session open to the public. We cannot imagine that a decision to accept  the resignation of the CAO, a resignation proffered in the crucial Budget period and without due notice,with possible financial ramifications, can be considered a “procedural matter” or a direction to staff . Nor can we believe that the “approval” of the CAO’s unusual vacation arrangements could be so considered. What do our councillors think? We hope they are getting good advice from the Town solicitor.

An interview with a pamphleteer

Mr. Becker, that Teutonic thorn in the side of certain factions in the Wolfville Town administration,  has found a new  audience. His views have had an airing recently by way of  The Atheneum. The first article titled “Tyranny in Wolfville”, was last month, and concisely summarized Mr. Becker’s 4 concerns voiced in one of his blog posts which we also noted and summarized here at Ww at the time. The mayor declined the Ath’s offer of a response. [Guess he would decline our request too. Good thing we didn't ask.]

The Athenaeum invited Mayor Stead to an interview to discuss these allegations, point by point, but the Mayor declined in his e-mail correspondence. Mayor Stead did see fit to comment though. He stated that the issues Becker brought up in the blog and pamphlet were “…largely a repeat of communications directed to the Town of Wolfville and it’s officers and elected officials over the past several months.” Mayor Stead went on to say that, “This town does not have the resources to assign to issues that are so destructively critical and without substance or foundation. We prefer to deal with constructive criticism that make us better at what we do for the people who elect or hire us.”

We think Mr. Becker’s criticism is very constructive, and not without substance either. We think that the the mayor doesn’t like criticism at all, constructive or otherwise. We hope that the mayor has returned refreshed from his sojourn in a warm clime (Cuba wasn’t it?) and ready to face more of the same, but to get back to Mr. Becker.

Mr. Becker was apparently delighted to be asked for an interview (we assume he was asked- maybe he offered it himself)  and so The Ath has done another article ” Mr. Becker speaks”. This one concentrates on the Brideau contract issue. After another concise summary of the details of Lutz’s case, it concludes:

Becker stresses that he has not called the Mayor a tyrant, but instead only posed a question. If you go to the municipal government act it states clearly that the municipality is governed by council,” says Becker. “In this council he [the mayor] has one vote, just like all the others.”

“They run the town as if it were a business,” laments Becker. Mr. Becker has stated that his next course of action might potentially be to gather a few of his main questions, and bring them forth at a Town Council meeting; a course of action that Becker says his lawyer has advised him to consider. If Becker does eventually decide to do this, then municipal politics are about to get a lot more interesting

Although the article isn’t news to us in terms of content, it is interesting that some students are taking an interest in the Town and how it is run. That’s good news we think.