by Tristan Turner
Interim CAO Andrew Isbister reported to Town Council that terminating the employment of former CAO Debbie Oyarzun resulted in paying out nearly six figures worth of severance pay.
The report followed an information request from Councillor Stephen Dafoe at a previous Council meeting.
The report indicates severance was equal to the value of six months worth of Oyarzun’s wages and benefits, pointing to Oyarzun’s previous annual salary being approximately $140,000 annually, before benefits.
The total cost of termination cost, including $4,913 in legal fees and accrued holiday pay was $87,656.
Oyarzun’s employment was officially terminated by Town Council Jan. 26. The termination was without cause, a legal term for one of the forms of employment termination. The other form of termination is with cause.
The region has seen similar situations in other municipalities that has generated some controversy, including Edmonton Council’s recent decision to terminate the position of former City Manager Simon Farbrother at a cost to taxpayers of $800,000 in severance.
It is common practice to pay severance when terminating the employment of employees working in Municipal Administration.
The information report was received with no comment from Council.