A city employee is saying she was “unjustly let go” and Coun. Sushil Thapar is backing her claim.
“Mayor and council did not have the authority to dismiss her without cause,” Thapar said of recently-fired human resource advisor, Meriel Wild.
Wild, with the city close to 10 years, says it all began when she filed a bullying and harassment complaint against then city manager John Stecyk.
“I was on stress leave, signed off by my doctor,” she said.
Wild said when she was healthy enough to go back, she was “dismissed.”
“I can’t imagine any reason for my dismissal,” she said.
“This was certainly without cause.”
Thapar agrees, saying Wild was a “very honest, hardworking, long-time employee.”
“You do not just fire someone because they take stress leave over a harassment issue,” he said.
“She’s dedicated and by the book and these morons fire her?”
And aside from losing a qualified employee who has saved the city “tens of thousands of dollars” Thapar says the wrongful dismissal case could end up costing taxpayers “hundreds of thousands.”
“We’re looking at court costs, damages and back pay,” he said.
“The financial implications are huge. She’s [Mayor Mary Sjostrom] lost her mind.”
Thapar further alleges Sjostrom approved of Wild’s firing so she could hire an employee who would do her bidding.
Sjostrom maintains all allegations are completely false, but stated confidentiality agreements prevented her from saying more.
“City council is bound by confidentiality and we do not discuss staffing [human resource) issues in public,” she said.
“Decisions are made by the council as a whole including the mayor. Administration is currently working on this file.”
Thapar acknowledged the decision was by council consensus, but said current members are not only inexperienced but “blindly following the mayor.”
“This is a ‘yes mama’ council,” he said.
As for Wild, she says she’s stuck in a Catch 22.
“I don’t want the taxpayers to have to foot this bill,” she said.
“But I don’t want the city to screw me either. It’s so sad because I worked so hard… and this is what I get.”
Thapar is concerned the firing is an “abuse of power” for personal reasons – reasons that could see the taxpayers footing the bill.
“Frickin’ idiots,” he said.
Sjostrom reiterated her dissaproval of Thapar’s behaviour and tactics.
“Once again Coun. Thapar is using the media instead of dealing with the matter in a proper and confidential manner required under oath of an elected official,” she said.
Check future Observer’s for more on this story.