HALIFAX: The Municipality of the County of Richmond has reached a financial settlement with its former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).
Lawyers for both sides reached a deal where former Richmond CAO Kent MacIntyre would receive $33,518.25, plus $5,000 for legal contributions, from the municipality as a result of his firing during a council meeting last year.
According to Richmond Warden Brian Marchand, MacIntyre “signed-off” on the agreement in March.
“He signed-off his statement of claim against the municipality and the people who he had named in the suit. Some of the reasoning was that litigation, in itself, could be costly. He accepted an offer before the disclosure dates which were in early March,” Marchand told The Reporter. “Everybody does know that litigation is very expensive. Whether you win, whether you lose, just defending yourself is costly. So the thought process was to give a bit of a settlement, just to walk away from this.”
The warden maintains that the settlement followed the terms of MacIntyre’s contract with the municipality.
“I want it noted that there was a contract signed between the Municipality of the County of Richmond and the former CAO and we abided by that contract in letting Mr. MacIntyre go,” the warden stated. “We paid out, what we were supposed to pay, as per the terms of that contract. And they were paid within the proper time period.”
The warden said this was the fiscally responsible thing to do since the municipality paid-out far less than what MacIntyre was requesting.
“Do you fight a case on principles? Or do you decide to walk away and look at the financial component of it? Yes, it was the taxpayers’ dollars if we were bringing this to a discovery, and a two, three, four day trial, court session, no one knew. Our lawyer gave us some numbers of the potential expense so we had to sit and make a decision, and the decision got made. The amount that was being asked for, initially, and the amounts that were being stated, after Mr. MacIntyre was released [was] in the $490,000 [range]; we were definitely nowhere near that in what we paid out,” Marchand said.
On June 12, 2019 in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, MacIntyre filed a notice of action alleging libel, slander and wrongful dismissal against Marchand, Deputy Warden Alvin Martell and District 4 councillor Gilbert Boucher, as well as the municipality.
Against the municipality, MacIntyre requested special damages of approximately $492,915, as well as a public apology. MacIntyre sought general damages; aggravated or moral damages; punitive damages; pre-judgement interest at five per cent; post-judgement interest at five per cent; costs and disbursements; and other relief deemed equitable by the court against Marchand, Martell and Boucher.
The statement said that MacIntyre took over the position on January 1, 2018 at an annual salary of $131,444. Then during a special meeting of council on April 1, 2019 councillors Martell, Marchand and Boucher voted to immediately terminate his contract with the municipality.
“With the events that happened the days before, and with the events that happened that evening, I believe that was the right decision for Richmond County,” Marchand stated.
During a special meeting of council on April 4, the statement contends that Marchand outlined the reasons for MacIntyre’s termination, but later, council voted to send a letter to the former CAO that his termination had been without cause. The suit alleged that after the vote on April 1, MacIntyre’s employment relationship was complete, and the April 4 statements were an attempt to “re-characterize” the reasons for his dismissal.
The statement asserted that the reasons for his termination – which expressed publicly by Boucher and Marchand – were “false,” and even if true, did not amount to cause.
As a result of this wrongful dismissal, MacIntyre wanted the remainder of the salary owed to him had he finished the full five-year term of his contract, which amounts to 45 months.
MacIntyre stated the municipality failed in its duty of good faith and fair dealing owed to him as an employee and this bad faith in firing him voided his employment agreement. He contended he was owed reasonable notice for his dismissal.
The statement of claim outlined that MacIntyre’s job performance and employment status were not agenda items at the April 1 meeting. It also said his termination violated section 22 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA), as well as Richmond’s Code of Conduct Policy.
“Instead, Boucher, Marchand and Martell discussed, met, and conspired to suddenly bring forward and pass the motion to terminate MacIntyre’s employment and to have him escorted from the building,” the statements contended.
With municipal elections set to take place next month, the warden added this is the right time to release this information.
“I’m hearing from people that they do want this out,” Marchand added. “People say that you need to this out publicly.
“People want to hear it from their elected officials, people want to see it in print in the media, well here it is.”