Still no clarity on Niagara Region's CAO contract

Anyone looking for answers, regarding the controversial contract extension of the Niagara Region’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), did not get any at last night’s Council meeting. 

At a special meeting in August, Chair Alan Caslin admitted that he unilaterally extended embattled CAO Carmen D’Angelo’s contract. 

Since then, Councillors have been demanding more information on the legality of the deal, which was to go until 2022 with provisions for a “golden parachute”, a large payment should the CAO be dismissed prior to the end of the contract. 

In August, staff was directed by Council to seek external legal counsel. 

Last night, St. Catharines Councillor Brian Heit asked Chair Alan Caslin where the item was included on the agenda. 

Caslin responded saying, "now that the Ombudsman is doing their investigation that will be deferred until after the report comes back from the Ombudsman."

Heit challenged the response stating, "that wasn’t what we requested, we were requesting information regarding the contract and we asked for that at the last meeting." 

Director of Legal Services Donna Gibbs was then asked to explain why there was no update. 

"I understand that the council direction did not include a specific time frame to the extent that council direction has been provided, it can be provided at the next regularly scheduled meeting being October 4th" Gibbs said. 

Heit finished the exchange saying "I expect to see a lawyer here for sure, at the next meeting."

On August 31st, Ontario’s ombudsman Paul Dube confirmed his office has launched a formal investigation into the hiring and contract of the Region’s CAO.