EDITORIAL: Details needed on departure

Here we are again, with little explanation as to why a highly touted city executive is no longer at her post.

Not too long ago, Nanaimo taxpayers finally stopped paying former city manager Jerry Berry not to work.

Berry received a hefty severance package in 2009, which included continuation of his salary and benefits for two years after his last day at city hall, for dismissal after 25 years at his post – with little explanation from elected officials about why he was let go.

And yet here they are again, with little explanation as to why a highly touted city executive is no longer at her post.

After weeks of denying Susan Cudahy was no longer CEO of Nanaimo’s new economic development corporation, a joint statement announced a “mutual” decision that saw Cudahy return to her home province of Ontario, “to be closer to family.”

Taxpayers, whose annual grant of $1.4 million supports the corporation, deserve more of an explanation than that as to why the ‘best person for the job’ is gone after roughly six months.

The city paid almost $40,000 to a head-hunting firm to find Cudahy, and even more to move her to Nanaimo to head up the corporation.

Imagine what it’ll cost now to find someone willing to relocate to Nanaimo,   as the city establishes a reputation for ousting executives – don’t forget former economic development officer Marilyn Hutchinson or Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association executive director Matt Hussman.

The costs will only continue to pile up as the corporation, city and Cudahy embark on negotiations on a severance package, the fine details of which taxpayers may or may not be privy.

Nanaimo city council learned nothing from the Berry incident, preferring to hide behind the thin legal veil of personnel issues. Unlike Berry’s case, however, hope remains that taxpayers will eventually find out the gritty details of what happened – if Cudahy wants her day in court.