City opens up CAO's contract to public scrutiny

CAO Doug McNeil terms of his employment are available right now on the city’s website.

CAO Doug McNeil’s employment contract posted online

City of Winnipeg CAO Doug McNeil's annual salary is $240,000 a year plus $700 per month for car allowance. (CBC)

It took more than a year and a half before Winnipeggers learned that former CAO Phil Sheegl got a $250,000 severance package after he resigned from the city in October 2013, just days before the release of a scathing audit into the fire hall land swap deal.

And Winnipeggers will have to wait nearly the same amount of time to find out what sort of severance, if any, former acting CAO Deepak Joshi received after being suspended and eventually resigning in early 2015.

But when it comes to Doug McNeil, the current City of Winnipeg CAO, the terms of his employment are available right now — posted on the city's website.

Mayor Brian Bowman said he made the request to McNeil.

"It was his decision to make it public. It was something I asked him if he would be interested in doing and he made the decision to post it," said Bowman 

The move is being praised by a long-time city hall observer.

"It's the public's money. So there is a good principle in government that the public should have the right to know how its government and politicians are spending public funds," said Colin Craig, director of strategic communications at the Manning Centre in Calgary. 

Dissecting the deal

McNeil's annual salary is $240,000 a year plus $700 per month for car allowance. His parking is covered under the contract.

In the event that the city fires McNeil for cause, he gets nothing.

If he is fired without cause, he gets a year's salary plus 12 per cent top up to cover lost benefits like dental plan and pension.

If he quits, he must give two months notice to EPC and he gets paid out for any unused vacation days.

McNeil is entitled to seven weeks of vacation and leave.

One thing not stipulated is what happens if the CAO resigns suddenly as was the case with Sheegl and Joshi.

"This contract does not outline plans for a resignation effective immediately, and therefore would be dealt with at the time, should that ever occur," wrote a city spokesperson. 

Bowman calls the disclosure a positive move.

 "I think it is reflective of greater openness and transparency we are working toward in city hall," he said before thanking McNeil for making his contract public.