Edmonton

Simon Farbrother, Edmonton city manager, let go: Iveson

Simon Farbrother, Edmonton's city manager, has been let go. Mayor Don Iveson made the announcement on Thursday afternoon calling it a "difficult decision."

Farbrother to get $800,000 in severance

Former city manager Simon Farbrother speaking to reporters in August 2015. (CBC)

Simon Farbrother, Edmonton's city manager, has been let go.

Mayor Don Iveson made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, calling it a "difficult decision."

"A decision of this magnitude was not made without careful deliberation and discussion among council members but, in the end, we determined that change was necessary — and that it must happen now," said Iveson, adding the challenges the city faces require a "fresh perspective."

Iveson said the decision to terminate Farbrother's contract was not based on any specific project.

At an August 2015 city council meeting, Farbrother faced hard questions over the problem-plagued Metro LRT line.

"I'll take full accountability that this project is … still not on time," Farbrother told council at the time.

Farbrother will receive $800,000 in severance, an amount that's based on two years of salary plus benefits. Farbrother earned about $400,000 a year, including benefits.

Iveson said it was a council decision to relieve Farbrother from his duties, but said the vote was not unanimous. Coun. Ben Henderson voted against the dismissal.

Coun. Scott McKeen refused to comment on Farbrother's departure from the city saying "it would be unseemly to speak about one employee."

 Former councillor Kim Krushell said when it comes to major projects "the buck ultimately stops" with council.

"If they feel the city manager is not performing and they are not getting construction projects done on time, and that they have real concerns about projects, then they have to hold that individual accountable," she said. "I don't think council did this lightly."

Krushell said she has been surprised by the number of projects that lately seem to be "coming off the rails."

Farbrother was hired as city manager in 2010. Before that, he worked as the chief administrative officer for the City of Waterloo and was the city manager in Spruce Grove.

He has a master's degree in geography from the University of Alberta and started his municipal career in 1989 as a planner in Leduc.

Farbrother also holds an undergraduate degree in economics and geography from Portsmouth University in England.

Iveson said the search for a new city manager will begin shortly. 

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