Wolfvillian Mr. Becker has been distributing another 2 page open letter with another complaint about this administration . He left some in the post office and a few days ago we managed to get a hold of a copy , before the mayor threw the rest of the stack in the waste basket. Those of you who belong to the 700 club will have read about it already in Mr. Becker’s own words. Apparently Mr. Becker had just left copies in the PO and saw the mayor go in. When Mr. Becker went back in after the mayor left he found all his material had been discarded. Now why would the mayor wish to stifle Mr. Becker? This isn’t China after all.
But back to Mr. Becker’s complaint. A Vendetta? He starts off by admitting that he has had issues in the past with Wolfville’s CAO over a number of problems . Some will see this as evidence that Mr. Becker has a grudge against the town and therefore dismiss his complaint as groundless. Others will see this as evidence of Mr. Becker’s experience with how this Administration handles things – badly. One you have this experience you start looking at everything the town does with new eyes.
Mr. Becker’s complaint this time is the generous employment package of our Hantsport resident CAO. He was curious when he heard that there was an “in camera” session regarding Mr. Brideau’s work performance and submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents pertaining to Mr. Brideau’s contract. Mr. Becker goes into some detail but to cut to the chase he has found that:
- The original contract of 1996 (which was for 3 years starting at $58,000 to be reviewed annually) was amended after only a little more than a year into the contract (and just prior to municipal elections ) to:
- make the term of the contract “indefinite“
- the notice of termination provisions were revised to include generous severance pay if the Town ended his employment
- An additional amendment gave Mr. Brideau generous salary and pension increases up to the year 2011.
- His salary for 08-09 which Mr. Becker gives appears to be about $10,000 richer than it would be with normal cost of living increases
- and the pension contributions paid by the town increase from 5% to a whopping 18% over the next few years.
- Mr. Becker asks several questions: Which add up to when, why and how were these amendments made? Specifically:
- He can find no notation in the Minutes to the “in camera” session where these amendment decisions were made and he questions whether the discussion and decisions about Mr. Brideau’s contract should have been made “in camera”. There are several discrepancies in the documentation which are puzzling and suspicious.
- He questions whether the Town can give more than 5% in contributions to Mr. Brideau’s RRSP as the Municipal Government Act appears to restrict the Town to 5%
- Where is the record of performance reviews which were supposed to have been done yearly and how can increases for future years be granted by the amendment before yearly evaluations have been done.
- Why was a section of the letter to Mr. Brideau informing him of the generous amendment decisions blacked out? Mr. Becker is appealing this to the Review Office under the FOIPPA but he will not likely receive a reply before the municipal elections.
- Why has the Town been so generous to Mr. Brideau at taxpayers expense, can they commit future Councils to these generous terms by way of this contract, and can they be held personally responsible?
It should be noted also that Mr. Brideau’s original contract also gave him a credit card for his use only for authorised business expenses (who monitors those we wonder?)
We haven’t seen these documents ourselves but we do believe Mr. Becker has grounds for disquiet as we too have heard rumours about Mr. Brideau’s over generous salary and working conditions. Mr. Becker’s investigation gives us even more reason to wish for a fresh Council which will be able to look into these questions and reassure residents that our interests are not being sacrificed for someone else’s benefit.
We must now watch to see what happens to Mr. Brideau’s position. Will Council suddenly terminate his employment “without cause” so he can cash in on the generous settlement terms in the amended contract before a new Council takes office? He’d have more time for golf then.