Just picking up on the buzz here and here about Guelph’s top public official, CAO Ann Pappert deciding to move to Guelph. I can only say how incensed I am to learn that CAO Pappert has a $20K incentive in her contract to move here.
The image, left, is from a Globe and Mail discussion about the merits of a $20K guaranteed annual income for poverty-stricken Canadians.
It puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
Staff, even top staff, can live where they want. Of course, they also have to own their choice in terms of how the community responds to it. It’s their call, and it’s their good judgement on the line — it’s not Council’s responsibility to ensure they exercise it in this regard. If good judgement dictates to them that it’s best to live in the community they’re hired to serve, fantastic — but are we seriously paying top staff — effectively enabling them — to exercise their own good judgement in a way they would have not otherwise?
I guess that’s how it is for some. There’s an expectation to get paid. A lot. To move. It may be business as usual in some circles. For most of us, it’s just disrespectful.
By moving to Guelph within 18 months of signing her contract, Pappert qualifies to claim up to $20,000 in moving expenses, though she has not yet done so.
She said that clause – which is common for corporations recruiting senior administrators – “was part of the negotiation” when she took the job.
Mayor Karen Farbridge wrote in an email recently having the CAO live in Guelph “is important to council.
“As an employer, this is not something we can require, but it is something we can incent,” Farbridge wrote. “That is what we did and we are very pleased to welcome Ann to Guelph.”
Pappert acknowledged there are pitfalls to living in the community where one holds such a high-profile position. Shopping trips take a lot longer, for example, “because people are always stopping me to talk about something.”
So, to recap: “We” are “very pleased” that the CAO chose to move to the city she runs?
“Very pleased” — really?? And at a possible cost of $20K? That is a slap in the face to Guelph taxpayers.
Talk about being out of touch with the realities of the people you’re (supposed to be) serving.
Well, if you happen to see Ms. Pappert when you’re out doing your errands, be sure to welcome her to the community, because that’s who we are (though she may prefer you giving her some space)… only, it’s pompous-ridiculous that we agreed to pay her $20K to discover that.