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Sudbury councillors pull back CAO's powers


Sudbury city council voted unanimously Tuesday to pull back the chief administrative officer's powers, citing a lack of transparency.

The motion was presented by councillors Mike Parent, Pauline Fortin and Mark Signoretti and required two-thirds of support to be carried.

The motion was supported by all.

The topic was sparked by CAO Ed Archer's approval of a wage increase of up to 11 per cent to non-unionized staff members.

Archer was not present at the meeting.

"These types of amounts should be given to council to maintain that transparency," said Parent, who said he found out about details of the wage increase through the media.

Councillors argued that the wage increase was approved in December leading up to the budget, but certain details were not shared.

"The decision was made in December of last year, brought through a report in February and we were given the information in February," said Coun. Natalie Labbee.

"We did not have an opportunity to discuss it with our CAO."

Some councillors said they were aware of a five to eight per cent increase, but were not informed of an additional three per cent increase given in April.

"The report in January suggested slightly higher numbers than what had been discussed, which would have led to questions, but at no time was it shared with members of council that there was going to be an additional three per cent to meet the market readjustments," said Parent.

City of Greater Sudbury city council chambers at Tom Davies Square. May 14, 2024 (Amanda Hicks/CTV Northern Ontario)

In an interview with CTV News after the meeting, Signoretti said council was 'blindsided.'

"We're the governors of the taxpayers' money, so we need to make sure we're spending that money wisely," he said.

"We were all shocked at the significant increase. We realize there's a gap but that doesn’t mean the gap doesn’t have to be cleared within one year. That could have been spread three of four years to minimize the tax levy."

Coun. Bill Leduc argued that council was given the information during a closed meeting session, and made the decision unanimously.

"It's not like anyone was blindsided or misunderstood the report, all had the opportunity to ask the questions that we needed to ask in close," Leduc said Wednesday.

Throwing CAO 'under the bus'

"Our questions were answered, we all felt comfortable moving forward with it, and then when the report became public, it was like, let's throw the CAO under the bus, which is unfortunate."

Leduc said he doesn't believe council was blindsided.

"I understand some of our councillors work full time and don’t have the time to put as much time as other councillors like myself in looking up the reports and questioning our staff," he said.

He added that he is comfortable with the decision that was made.

"Moving forward it will be council's decision to provide increases to staff, our non-unionized staff," he said. "I do feel bad for our front line workers who did not receive the same increases."

Revoking bylaw 2023-150 removes the authority of Archer to adjust the pay structure of all or some categories of non-union employees, meaning that wage increases will have to go through council.

In addition, a motion presented by Coun. Fern Cormier was approved by all, requiring the salaries for non-unionized staff to be posted online as a means of increasing transparency. Top Stories

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