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Former Brampton mayor Susan Fennell’s city compensation totalled nearly half a million dollars in 2014
March 18, 2015
By San Grewal

Former Brampton mayor Susan Fennell’s 2014 remuneration after 11 months’ work before the voters forced her out of office - including salary, severance, pension and benefits - was nearly half a million dollars.

A new council compensation report, issued by each municipality under provincial rules by March 31 every year, shows Fennell’s total remuneration from the city totalled $482,561.

The amount from the city of Brampton last year includes: $107,233 in salary; $55,411 in pension contributions; $297,232 in retiring allowance (including severance), $7,137 in benefits and $15,264 for her car allowance, as well as a small amount in miscellaneous expenses. (The total does not include about $49,000 in 2014 for Fennell’s taxpayer-funded, on-call limousine service.)

Fennell is also seeking $450,000 in damages from the city in an application to Ontario’s Divisional Court. In it, she claims she was unfairly punished by council after a forensic audit found she and her staff broke spending rules 266 times. She is also trying to get back $144,150 that was withheld from her 2014 remuneration by council because she could not prove that transactions from her on-call limousine service were for city business. And she wants back $38,137 because council also voted to strip her of 90 days’ pay for violating the city code of conduct.

The large severance payout - nearly $300,000 - is due largely to a council vote in 2013, when Fennell and other members supported a maximum payout of 18 months’ salary, up from the 12-month cap that had been in place. Council approved the more generous payout in spite of a consultant’s report that showed the average severance among municipalities responding to a survey was only 5.5 months.

Councillor Jeff Bowman, who was elected in October 2014 when Fennell was voted out, said the former mayor’s 18-month severance was “excessive.”

The $482,561 remuneration figure does not include the money paid to Fennell by the Region of Peel for sitting on its council in the two-tiered government, or any severance and pension she might receive from the region. In 2013, Fennell’s regional remuneration (salary, benefits and expenses) was about $85,000. The 2014 numbers for the region are expected to be released Friday.

“With what we expect she’s going to get from the region for 2014, the former mayor could walk away with $1.2 million (including the damages she’s seeking),” said Chris Bejnar, spokesperson for the group Citizens for a Better Brampton.

“No politician should be getting that type of remuneration, and then be coming after taxpayers for more through the courts. That type of politician isn’t interested in serving the public, they just want to use public office to make money off the taxpayer’s back.”

Fennell lost the mayor’s chair in the October 2014 election to Linda Jeffrey, garnering 12 per cent of the vote to Jeffrey’s 49.