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.