The City of Chestermere has called for an investigation into employee pay-out packages amounting to almost $600 000 given to two staff members who resigned. This was not approved by council, which violates their policy that says council must approve payments over $75 000.
These payouts show both employees resigned, and were only legally entitled to two weeks of salary in lieu as per the Alberta Employment Standard Code.
If they were fired, they should have received a total of $56 000. Instead, one former employee got $400 000 while the other got $200 000.
In an effort to improve transparency and accountability, the current city council unanimously voted to approve a third party to investigate.
“We were elected on a promise of increased transparency and accountability, and this is part of the process of keeping our promise to the taxpayers of Chestermere. This matter was brought to our attention by city staff, and we are grateful that they support our mandate of increased transparency, which will ensure the full accountability of tax dollars as we move forward,” said City of Chestermere Mayor Jeff Colvin.
This is the second investigation called for by the mayor and councillors this month. On July 20, 2022, The City of Chestermere instructed its Finance Department to fully investigate a series of financial irregularities involving millions of dollars at its troubled utilities corporation.
“We are asking for the provincial inspection to include the financial irregularities detected at Chestermere Utilities Inc. and the bloated employee pay-out packages brought to our attention by staff,” said Colvin.
Council also instructed staff to report back on the following.
i) Why the severance packages were paid out without council’s approval
ii) Uncover if other irregular severances packages paid out without council’s approval,
iii) Evaluate the current employment template and make changes to ensure future contracts do not contravene the City’s Employment Policy,
iv) Evaluate current severance templates to ensure future severance agreements do not breach the City’s Employment and Severance Policy,
v) Change the Payroll and Banking Policy to ensure a three-person coded system is put in place with the Chief Administration Officer, the Finance Manager, and the Mayor, signing off on all payment releases.
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