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LETTER: Severance exacts a toll on Saanich taxpayers

While accolades may be deserved for its award-winning Climate Plan: Renewable and Resilient Saanich, Mayor Fred Haynes and council need to be reminded of the current climate around excessive property taxes.

About six years ago, the departure of the last CAO in Saanich cost taxpayers a painful $476,000 after they ‘parted ways.’

In 2017, the police chief pocketed $379,000 in severance after the city released him from his contract, only to promptly rehire him under a new two-year agreement paying $222,000 annually plus benefits.

Now, the mayor and council refuse to divulge what the latest ‘parting of ways’ with the CAO will cost the municipality’s taxpayers. Paid $288,176 plus benefits in 2020, he was the highest-paid employee among all 13 municipalities in the region.

Judging by the public climate around the issue of over-generous severances and taxpayer emissions, council needs to come clean on whether this latest severance is justified and the amount.

During difficult times and a run-up to a municipal election next fall, there are limits to the renewability and resilience of hard-pressed taxpayers.

Taxpayers in Saanich aren’t carbon sinks, and taxes don’t grow on trees.

Stan Bartlett, past-chair

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria