Saturday, 13 April 2024 07:49

Brampton's significant severance spending

Brampton severance pay Brampton severance pay fot: pixabay

Between 2010 and 2021, the City of Brampton incurred $38 million in severance costs, with a significant portion allocated during recent years. This expenditure comes into focus particularly due to the generous packages given to former senior leaders, as detailed in a city report. The report highlights the city’s financial commitments following the dismissal of several high - ranking officials.

Two former caos continue to receive high payments

The Ontario Sunshine List, which discloses salaries of public sector employees earning over $100,000, shows two former Brampton City Hall employees, both previously occupying the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) position and dismissed in 2018 and 2022 respectively, have received over $1.5 million combined in the last year alone. David Barrick, fired in 2022, and Harry Schlange, dismissed in 2018, appear on the list, with Schlange receiving nearly $300,000 annually from 2018 to 2021.

Questions over the severance arrangements

These payments have raised questions about the nature of severance agreements. Athanasios Makrinos, an employment lawyer, points out that CAO roles, which are highly politicized and precarious, often come with substantial severance packages due to their vulnerability to changes in political leadership. Brampton has seen four different CAOs since 2014, indicating a potentially unstable environment for city executives.

Comparison with nearby municipalities

A CBC Toronto analysis contrasts Brampton’s situation with neighboring municipalities like Toronto, Mississauga, Caledon, and Oakville, where former CAOs do not remain on the Sunshine List for more than a year after their termination. This discrepancy suggests unique severance practices within Brampton, potentially designed to spread payments over several years to avoid public scrutiny, as noted by Zachary Spicer, an associate professor at York University.

Mayor and council's response

Mayor Patrick Brown has critiqued the severance granted to Harry Schlange as "too generous" and asserts that severance agreements have since been adjusted to align more closely with the private sector. Meanwhile, Councillor Martin Medeiros acknowledges the financial impact of previous council decisions and expresses commitment to revising severance practices. The city aims to balance competitiveness with fiscal responsibility, focusing on retaining long-term employees through internal training and promotion.

The ongoing scrutiny of Brampton’s severance payouts reflects broader challenges in managing public funds and human resources in a politically sensitive environment. As Brampton continues to adjust its policies, the outcomes may serve as a learning point for other municipalities grappling with similar issues.



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