Sacking of city managers requires an explanation

Sacking of city managers requires an explanation Open letter to Whitehorse city council: As a former city councilor (2000-2012), I find the recent developments at City Hall to be more than a little disconcerting. Firstly, I fully understand that the city

Open letter to Whitehorse city council:

As a former city councilor (2000-2012), I find the recent developments at City Hall to be more than a little disconcerting.

Firstly, I fully understand that the city manager, Christine Smith, was within her rights to terminate Brian Crist and Robert Fendrick. The “without cause” part of the decision will likely be played out in court, at what will surely be a costly affair for the taxpayers of Whitehorse if it happens.

As one of those taxpayers, I find the fact that there is no explanation to us for what will be a very expensive decision by the city manager to be quite a bit more than a little disconcerting.

I understand that personnel issues are normally a private matter, but where many thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of taxpayers’ dollars are concerned, a line in the sand needs to be drawn.

Now we learn that Coun. Kirk Cameron has resigned in protest of the dismissal of the city’s most senior executives, which is extremely unfortunate as Mr. Cameron is (was) in my opinion one of our most effective city councillors. Only the fact that Mr. Cameron has resigned this close to the October 2015 municipal election saves us the cost of a by-election (estimated to be I believe in the proximity of $10,000).

During my last term on city council, I worked on a committee with Ms. Smith in her capacity as director of community services with the Yukon government. I found her to be very professional, very thorough and very open. So why all the secrecy surrounding this issue?

As the city manager is the only position in the City of Whitehorse that reports directly to mayor and council, I think it is incumbent on you to put the interests of the taxpayers that elected you first, and instruct the city manager to explain her actions publicly.

If you don’t, perhaps it is time we all started to think more seriously about that upcoming municipal election.

Dave Austin

Whitehorse

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