Essex Councillor Calls Severance Package Offered To Former CAO "Astronomical."

The town of Essex has disclosed to its councillors what it cost taxpayers to let go of its former Chief Administrative Officer.

During an in-camera meeting Monday, councillors learned the amount of the severance package given to Tracey Pillon-Abbs, who was let go last month after being on the job for less than a year.

Councillor Randy Voakes says the amount was disclosed at his request and he says it made him sick to his stomach.

He believes residents have a right to know and wants the severance package released, even though it was discussed in-camera and can't be released under the Privacy Act.

"It made me sick to my stomach when I heard the amount, it was astronomical the amount we are going to pay her in a severance," says Voakes.

He calls the way the town has treated Pillon-Abbs deplorable. "She did her job and it irritates the hell out of me that we are not being transparent to constituents on what that cost is."

Voakes questions if the town was doing everything with integrity and the decisions to let Pillon-Abbs go were valid, then why wouldn't the town just announce the amount of severance.


Councillors Sherry Bondy (left) and Randy Voakes (right) attend the regular meeting of council for the Town of Essex on April 3, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Councillor Sherry Bondy says council knew the cost of letting Pillon-Abbs go. "The amount was something that we had to look at it and say okay, is this amount going to be alarming and going to change our decision, no. We wanted to offer her a fair package."

"This is a personal issue and the former CAO has a right to privacy," says Bondy. "We are elected until 2018, the public has to trust us to some degree, that we did the right thing. I understand that it is taxpayers dollars, but we are also talking about a person and it is a personal matter."

Bondy says she is pleased with how everything worked out saying the cost would have been greater without a severance.