Canada

Koebel gets reduced buyout from Walkerton

Some residents of Walkerton, Ont., say they are still angry that their town's former water manager is getting a severance package, even though it has been reduced.

Town council voted Monday night to pay Stan Koebel the rest of the money, rather than face him in court. He has already received about $34,000 for unpaid vacation time.

Under the original deal announced last fall, the 47-year-old was to receive $98,000. But he will end up receiving $14,000 less.

"It doesn't do anything for the healing process knowing Stan gets a payoff," said resident Phil Englishman.

Koebel was in charge of the town water supply last May when a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria seeped into the system. Seven people died and more than 2,000 were made ill by the contamination.

An inquiry is currently under way looking into the tragedy.

Koebel worked out his original severance package before he appeared before the inquiry last December.

When he took the stand, the water manager's testimony was disturbing because he revealed his lack of training for the job and admitted to faking reports.

He also admitted he knew the water was contaminated, but thought he could correct the problem and didn't tell either the public or town officials.

The council wanted to take back the severance package, but decided instead to avoid another legal battle and offer the reduced package.

"Given what we know, about what the evidence would be on our behalf," said Councillor Stephen Barker, "to proceed any further would essentially be to add insult to injury."

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