Saint John settles dispute with heritage planner
Jim Bezanson drops human rights complaint, retires with $200,000 payment
The City of Saint John has quietly ended a long-time dispute with the municipality's heritage planner.
The deal sees Jim Bezanson, a well-known advocate for historic buildings, drop a human rights complaint against the city and a group of managers.
The dispute ended quietly at Tuesday night's city council meeting when council voted to approve the deal. There was no discussion.
Details of the deal were made public Wednesday. Bezanson will continue to be paid as a city employee on earned vacation until April 1. He will then retire with severance of $100,000, plus an additional $75,000 for what is described in the agreement as "Human Rights Damages."
The payment is being made even though the complaint of discrimination on the ground of mental disability has not been proven and the city continues to deny there are damages.
The city will also pay $25,000 to Bezanson to cover legal and other costs.
The agreement will see Bezanson drop his December 2011 complaint to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission and resign his position effective April 1, 2014.
Bezanson did not respond to an interview request.
He was known to have a rocky relationship with senior managers at city hall for a number of years. One of the issues was the Peel Plaza project as earlier versions of the proposal included demolition of several historic properties.