Pique, Nov. 3, 2011
Former CAO Bill Barratt is getting political after resolving his wrongful dismissal lawsuit with the municipality out of court.
In a meeting with Pique , he said that he believes some members of council put taxpayers at risk over his retirement in July, exposing them to a $400,000 lawsuit.
"They made a mistake," Barratt said from his home last week when the out of court resolution was released. "It wasn't in the best interests of the community. And you should be thinking about that when you vote (in November's election)."
That's the reason, he said, he named the four councillors - Ralph Forsyth, Grant Lamont, Ted Milner and Eckhard Zeidler - in his wrongful dismissal claim.
The four councillors named in the lawsuit would not speak to the issue this week, or Barratt's claims that they put the taxpayers at risk.
"He shouldn't be saying anything and neither will I," said Forsyth adding that the decision was made in a "closed meeting" and he cannot legally comment on it.
Lamont added: "We accepted his letter of resignation. That's all we did."
Barratt said he advised council that the way they were handling the matter of his retirement was offside. Council chose to move ahead despite his warning, he claims.
"At the end of the day, you get into court, anything can happen," said Barratt, who in his final years at the top job had an ongoing tug of war with council.
"I was just stunned that they would do that - putting the taxpayers at risk."
Last week Barratt agreed to drop his lawsuit against the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) with both sides accepting he resigned his employment with the RMOW.
As part of the resolution, the RMOW agreed to pay Barratt's legal fees up to $4,500. Barratt also got a letter from the RMOW acknowledging the ending of his service to the municipality was not ideal and that communication could have been clearer.
The decision marks the end of a 29-year career at the hall, which from Barratt's point of view, ended abruptly in early July when he got a phone call on holidays saying council accepted his retirement, effective immediately. He had offered to stay in place until his replacement was hired.
Two months later, Barratt filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of B.C. claiming wrongful dismissal and a "willful breach of his Employment Contract."
Under the contract, if he is terminated without "just cause" he is entitled to 24 months' salary - more than $400,000.
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