Minutes reveal scant details on Whitehorse city manager’s ouster

Minutes from the council meeting where Whitehorse’s city manager was fired provide a bit more information on where councillors stood on the decision.

Minutes from the council meeting where Whitehorse’s city manager was fired provide a bit more information on where councillors stood on the decision.

Christine Smith was fired without cause following a special council meeting that was quietly organized March 14.

No information about why Smith was fired has been made public. Minutes from the meeting were adopted at the March 27 council meeting.

They show Smith’s firing was the only thing on the agenda. The meeting lasted five minutes.

Two councillors — Samson Hartland and Dan Boyd — voted against the proposal to fire Smith under the rules laid out in the city manager bylaw.

It doesn’t appear city council even discussed why they were ousting the city manager.

There does appear to have been some talk about the decision to fire her using the city manager bylaw.

Section 35(5) of the bylaw lays out the amount of money a city manager receives when they are fired without cause.

“Some members of council expressed concern with termination under section 35(5) (of the bylaw) and stated a preference for a negotiated agreement,” is the entire summary of the discussion at the meeting.

Smith is in line to receive approximately $100,000 in severance according to the bylaw.

The minutes do not make it clear whether Hartland and Boyd voted against the move because they disagreed with the decision to get rid of her or because they disagreed with the process that was being followed under the bylaw.

In an email to the News, Boyd said he was both against firing Smith and, if she was going to be fired, would have preferred her severance be negotiated.

He would not comment any further on why Smith was fired in the first place.

Hartland did not return a call requesting comment.

While the city hunts for a new top bureaucrat, Linda Rapp, Whitehorse’s director of community and recreation services is slated to be named interim city manager.

Rapp has been acting in the position since Smith left. If a new bylaw passes third reading next week she will officially be named interim city manager until the permanent position is filled.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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