Interim CAO, Arie Hoogenboom, presented a report to council at the meeting of Monday, May 28, outlining the staffing issues in the municipality and corresponding financial implications. The report states that former Treasurer, Sheila Kehoe, was let go on January 11, and CAO, John Regan, was placed on paid administrative leave soon after, on January 19. On January 22, Nigel White was retained as Treasurer/CAO; however, he later resigned to let Arie step up to the plate, as he was already employed part time in another township and felt he could not dedicate the time needed to the position in Merrickville-Wolford. Arie stepped in on February 15, as part-time CAO/Clerk/Treasurer. On March 22, Richard Bennett was retained as a part-time treasury assistant, to help with the 2018 budget.
On February 26, Village receptionist, Kathy Throop, resigned and has since been replaced by Emily Morrison, who started as full-time receptionist on April 23. Current Treasurer, Kirsten Rahm, began her full-time employment with the municipality on the same day.
The upheaval in staffing in the municipality, as well as the investigation surrounding the CAO, has had some financial implications. After several requests from the public, Arie outlined some of those costs in the report. Nigel White’s employment cost the municipality $5,096, and Richard Bennett cost $3,814. The human resources solicitor with Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP has cost the municipality $17,430 to date, and the current bill for workplace investigator with Interlinkx is $25,303. According to the report, additional invoices for the legal counsel and workplace investigator are pending. Arie’s salary as interim CAO/Clerk/Treasurer is $34,616 for a 14-week part-time contract. As CAO, John Regan is on paid administrative leave and the Municipality is still paying his salary of $120,000 per annum.
“The 2018 budget did anticipate extra costs,” Arie says in the report. “Through the process of managing vacancy costs, these extra costs may be partially offset.”
Along with the financial reporting, the report also briefly addressed the public’s frustration about the staffing issues and on-going investigation. “Council and senior staff have had to hold multiple closed sessions where we are bound by confidentiality rules,” he writes. “While this entire process may be frustrating for the public, it is necessary.”