LETTER: It all comes out in the wash

Payout to former Sooke CAO is troubling, say Grumpy Taxpayer$


The turnover in chief administrative officers – there have been seven since incorporation in 1999 – has not only been disruptive but costly for Sooke taxpayers.

Municipal watchdog Grumpy Taxpayer$ has learned that the severance paid to Sooke’s chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan was about $128,000.

At the time, even though taxpayer money was being spent, the district would not comment on any financial settlement citing privacy laws.

RELATED: Law bans Sooke from releasing details on CAO’s departure

For the public record, Sullivan was paid an annual salary of $140,057, but paid $176,611 in 2018, according to subsequent statements of financial information released by the District of Sooke. Sullivan, who was hired in 2015, left her job in February 2018 after a parting of ways with council.

As required by provincial law, municipalities are to report on severance agreements although no names are mentioned. Only one severance agreement was made between Sooke and a non-unionized employees (management) during 2018 representing 11 months of compensation, according to the SOFI.

The district was without a CAO position between February 2018 and July 2019, when the current chief administrative officer was hired.

The Sooke revelation is troubling for taxpayers in this district of 15,000 people, as it’s only one example in a long list of recent disruptions to governance and sizeable severance settlements with senior management in Greater Victoria.

That includes Victoria, North Saanich, Saanich, and most recently Central Saanich, where it’s reported the former chief administrative officer received a one-time payment of $317,000 after suddenly leaving in February 2020.

Stan Bartlett

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria


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