I am encouraged by all the support that I have received from my friends, Greenwood residents, local government colleagues, and others. Thank you very much. This event was a complete shock.
On May 13 at 1:50 p.m. my employment with the City of Greenwood was terminated without notice. This action was unilaterally decided by the Greenwood City Council.
There was no discussion or negotiation between council and myself in relation to this matter. At no time was any censure of my performance as CAO, chief financial officer, or corporate officer given to me in writing. The dismissal did not follow the policies and procedures of the city, and it came without warning.
I was handed a letter by Mayor Smith, allowed a few minutes to gather my belongings, and escorted by Mayor Smitah and Councillor Tutti from City Hall. I was not permitted to say goodbye to my staff.
In regards to the current financial situation for the city, the senior partner of Berg Lehmann, Stefan Lehmann, discussed the audited financial statements for 2014 with me on Friday, May 8.
He indicated that the city was in a good financial position. The budget approved by the budget committee and the adjusted budget that supported the five-year financial plan bylaw show a balanced budget and permits regular operations of the city to continue.
There is no shortfall. Berg Lehmann, the city auditors, gave the city a clean audit opinion for 2014.
The audited financial statements are available to the public; a Freedom of Information request is not needed.
At the time of my dismissal I was working on the required governmental reports for 2015 which were due on May 14 and 15. I offered to work till Friday at closing to complete all the required reports in a timely way. My offer was rejected by the mayor. These reports were not filed on time.
The responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the municipality is large and varied. There are many federal, provincial and municipal laws that must be applied to the day-to-day operations of the city and every action of city council.
Unfortunately when only staff is required to apply the laws, policies and procedures, and some members of council deem themselves exempt, things like this happen.
It was a great honour to work with Wendy Higashi, deputy clerk, and Randy Smith, public works superintendent. These are people of integrity, with honed skills, and professionalism. The city has a strong asset in its senior staff that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
No one on council or within the city’s personnel has the required education or experience to perform the legislative duties of CAO, CFO, and CO. It is hoped that a qualified person will be engaged soon. Delays may be costly both in time, finances, and possible legal liabilities to the city.
I look forward to seeing my friends around Greenwood. I raised my kids here, my friends are here, and I have no immediate plans to leave.