It is with mixed emotions that I today tendered my intention to retire to Halifax Regional Council.
Many will want to know why I have chosen to retire. Given the issues of the last couple of days, I felt it was the right thing to do – for me personally, for my organization, and for the community that I serve. However, in doing so, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to make a few statements.
I would like to first state, that in every instance when I had a choice to make, I truly believed I was making the right choice on behalf of HRM. Of course, if I had to do it over again, I would do things differently.
I found myself in a very difficult position last year, and I made a choice which has caused me to take the decision to retire. In 2008, HRM began the practice of advancing cash to a promoter to enable the hosting of major outdoor concerts in our region. This practice was initiated to ensure that the promoter had the required liquidity to stage the concerts. As a major investor in the concerts, it was to our advantage to ensure they were a success.
In 2010, due to less than anticipated ticket sales, there was a possibility that the concerts would not proceed. If the concerts did not proceed, there would have been significant financial loss to the municipality. However, the practice of the advances exceeds the authority of any HRM official, violates the HRM Charter and exposes the organization to financial risk. I knew this at the time, but I chose to proceed anyway.
Although my decision was taken with the best interest of the tax payer in mind – it contravened HRM’s own policies and put the organization at risk, something I take very seriously.
Last week, I acknowledged my mistakes to the Audit Committee. I provided a full accounting of the decisions that I took, my reasons behind them and the discussions that I had with the Mayor with respect to these undertakings.
I have been privileged to spend my 33 year career in the municipal public service. There have been ups and downs, and many contentious issues requiring attention over the years. However, following my personal values has always led me in the right direction.
It is my hope that my decision, made as the senior staff person for HRM, will ensure that all HRM employees and all HRM citizens understand that the values, ethics and policies of this organization are taken seriously.
While I will remain in the workplace until June 30 to assist our incoming CAO with a smooth transition, I would like to take this opportunity thank all of my colleagues – past and current – for their support, guidance and friendship throughout the years.