Nova Scotia

Richmond County council sheds some light on CAO's abrupt firing

Many questions remain but an emergency Richmond County council meeting Thursday night has shed some light on why council unexpectedly fired its CAO.

Council's first order of business Thursday was to appoint Don Marchand to vacancy on interim basis

Richmond County council abruptly fired its chief administrative officer on Monday night. (Angela MacIvor/CBC)

An emergency meeting of Richmond County council Thursday night has shed some light on why councillors voted to fire its chief administrative officer unexpectedly this week.

But many questions remain unanswered. 

The reasons why councillors voted 3-2 to terminate former CAO Kent MacIntyre's contract during a special meeting on Monday seems to come down to a sundry account — an account that contains items not contained in the operating budget.

It has a budget of $27,000, but is showing $62,000 in expenditures, according to a statement Thursday night from deputy warden Brian Marchand, who along with Gilbert Boucher and Alvin Martell voted to dismiss the CAO.

On Thursday, Marchand said those payments include $10,925 for a project that never happened. 

"There was unbudgeted money spent," he said. "This county did not benefit from that one expenditure that I speak of." 

Questionable expenditures 

Brian Marchand would not go so far as to say there was misappropriation of funds, only that the line item was questionable.

He also expressed concern that his requests for information about the sundry budget went unanswered for more than two weeks. "The whole thing is, it's the road blocks that were put up to get one simple account," he said.

Council's first order of business Thursday was to appoint Don Marchand, a municipal employee, as interim CAO, effective immediately.

Brian Marchand admitted Don Marchand had been approached prior to the meeting — a fact that came as news to Warden Jason MacLean.

"What I'm hearing is that the warden of council was not made aware of that discussion, nor was part of that discussion, and is finding out that information ... for the first time tonight." said MacLean, to which Brian Marchand replied, "Correct."

Council also voted to have the county's solicitor prepare a termination letter to MacIntyre, which would include a choice between a lump-sum payment or salary continuation based on the terms of his contract.

Additional costs?

MacIntyre had worked 15 months of a five-year contract with a salary just under $130,000 per year.

A member of the public later questioned what additional costs might ensue should MacIntyre launch a defamation suit.

"That's why we're saying 'without cause'," replied Brian Marchand. "There's no defamation in that."

Coun. James Goyetche said he doesn't believe there is any family connection between the Marchands and even if there is he is confident it played no role in Don Marchand assuming his new duties.

Don Marchand is the municipality's revenue manager. Goyetche said he isn't sure whether Marchand will fill both roles as CAO and revenue manager or if he will be replaced as revenue manager.

RCMP confirmed Friday they are not involved in any investigations regarding Richmond County's finances.


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