After the city refused access to the agreement, the top manager told the City’s information staff he had no objections to the public knowing the details and wanted it made public.
However, the city continues to delay disclosing the same information for Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tracy Samra and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Victor Mema.
Starting pay of $166,601
Mr. McRae, who left tiny Lantzville where he was CAO for 13 months, is being paid a starting salary of $166,601 and qualifies for five weeks of vacation, according to his letter of appointment. That is less than the city’s current fire chief and previous general managers earned in 2015.
Mr. McRae has agreed to a maximum of six months severance if he is let go in his first year of service. In recognition of this, he is not subject to a probationary period.
According to his job description (PDF), the new COO is responsible for the city’s engineering & public works, emergency management and facilities. He is expected to be acting CAO as needed.
Mr. McRae has been given a baptism of fire by being assigned the highly contentious Colliery Dams file.
But he has wasted no time getting to work on the hot-button topic, meeting with many community stakeholders on the Dams in recent days.
City initially denied access
News Nanaimo requested Mr. McRae’s employment agreement on September 1, the day the city announced his appointment.
On September 26, the city denied the request saying it was personal information and disclosure would be harmful to city’s financial or economic interests.
News Nanaimo complained to the city’s FOI head Sheila Gurrie, pointing out that employment contracts have long been ruled public documents by provincial authorities.
We also contacted Mr. McRae to ask if he had any objections. He didn’t but asked that we wait until he started work in Nanaimo.
On Oct. 4, the day after he started work at the city, Mr. McRae said via email that Ms. Gurrie would soon release his employment agreement to us.
Last Wednesday, the city finally provided the documents.
Samra and Mema’s contracts delayed
Interestingly, in his Oct. 4 email, Mr. McRae also mentioned that “Ms. Samra will be, in the near future, releasing comparable information that you will receive from Ms. Gurrie.”
News Nanaimo requested Ms. Samra’s current employment agreement on Aug. 30. The city made an attempt to disregard the request on Sept. 13 under a draconian section of the freedom of information law, but later abandoned the application.
However, hopes of finally getting Ms. Samra’s contract “in the near future” as Mr. McRae said were dashed 10 days ago when the city said it was taking up to 30 additional business days to consult “a third-party.”
A request for Mr. Mema’s contract, filed by businessman and council critic Don Bonner, is also being delayed on the same grounds.
Mr. McRae’s appointment letter is embedded below: