Wednesday, July 16, 2014

City of Terrace to pay damages in case of dismissed CAO

A cautionary tale for municipalities everywhere from the British Columbia courts, terminating civic employees requires a fair amount of review, proper procedure and most likely a fairly thorough paper trail.

A recent court case heard in the British Columbia Supreme Court has awarded damages equivalent to six months of salary to Donald Ramsay, the one time Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Terrace who was dismissed from his duties in the June of 2012.  Mr. Ramsay left the employ of the City of Terrace  after having signed a resignation letter on June 26th of that year.

It was the nature of that letter and the process that led to it, that made for the bulk of the court case review.

With Mr. Justice Macintosh weighing the evidence presented to him before coming to a conclusion that through the events of mid 2012, Mr. Ramsay had been placed in a vulnerable position.

Mr. Justice Macintosh also observed and that in his opinion, the city of Terrace had effectively denied Mr. Ramsay a fair hearing by not particularizing the complaints in a way that he could address them.

In addition to his damages of the equivalent of six months salary, Mr. Ramsay also is entitled to any other payments that he would have received from the City of Terrace had he been dismissed without cause on six months notice as an employee not on probation.

Costs were also awarded to the Plaintiff.

The findings from the court case should provide some helpful guidelines for both Civic Administrators and City Councils when it comes to dismissal procedures, it also will make for a topic of interest for those that find themselves suddenly removed from their duties.

You can review the full judgment here.

The Vancouver Province provides more background on the court case and the cost that it will provide to the City of Terrace.

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