Former NEDC CEO receives $75,000 settlement

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation's former chief executive officer will receive a $75,000 settlement for six months of work.

Susan Cudahy, the first CEO of the fledgling NEDC, arrived from Ontario in October to head up the corporation mandated with marketing Nanaimo as a place to visit, invest and do business with a budget of $1.3 million provided by taxpayers.

In late March, Cudahy was criticized for spending $8,800 with a Toronto firm to help with the corporation's new website. In April, Cudahy, while grocery shopping with her daughter, was allegedly verbally attacked over the matter and spat on by a Nanaimo resident.

Cudahy took some personal time to deal with the situation and on April 13, while in a meeting with a local photographer, was interrupted by a board member who took her office keys and escorted her off NEDC property.

She never returned to the job.

Cudahy was earning about $135,000 as NEDC's CEO. The settlement includes four months salary plus moving and other expenses, meaning taxpayers are on the hook for about $144,000 for Cudahy's six months of service, not including $37,800 spent with headhunting firm Pinton Forrest and Madden to find a candidate to lead the corporation.

"This matter is now closed," said NEDC board chairman A.J. Hustins, adding that all B.C. labour law standards were met to deal with the departure.

Hustins said Pinton Forrest and Madden agreed to conduct a new search at no charge to the NEDC, though he wasn't certain if that meant conducting a new search or if the runner-up in the first search would be contacted.

"We still have yet to discuss the details," he said.

Hustins added that NEDC staff are capable of doing the necessary work to keep the corporation moving forward while a new CEO is sought.

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