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Council unanimous in withdrawing CAO’s delegated authority

Greater Sudbury city council has withdrawn delegated authority they unanimously voted to give city CAO Ed Archer on Sept. 26, 2023, which had allowed him to increase non-union wages
Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti, pictured during a recent meeting, tabled a successful motion with Ward 4 Coun. Pauline Fortin and Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent during Tuesday’s city council meeting to rescind delegated authority the city’s elected officials granted city CAO Ed Archer last year, which allowed him to increase non-union wages.

A unanimous vote of city council withdrew delegated authority from city CAO Ed Archer during Tuesday’s meeting.

Related to this motion, city council also unanimously agreed to ensure future changes to non-union salaries are made public during future open meetings.

These unanimous decisions were made without Mayor Paul Lefebvre, who was not present.

At issue was Bylaw 2023-150, which all 13 members of city council were unanimous in passing on Sept. 26, 2023. 

(Since that time, there has been some turnover of city council following the deaths of  Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini and Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier. Their seats are now filled by Eric Benoit and Michel Brabant, respectively.)

The bylaw gave Archer the authority “to adjust the pay structure of all or some categories of non-union employees” when he believes “it is appropriate to do so” based on existing compensation philosophies and the salary administration plan approved by city council.

Archer used this authority to increase the salaries of some non-union city managers last year by an additional six to eight per cent beyond their regularly scheduled three-per-cent boost. 

A collection of documents which were leaked to earlier this year showing that various city managers received an additional six to eight-per-cent pay boost last year, per the direction of city CAO Ed Archer. Tyler Clarke /

These wage hikes were only brought to light after reported on leaked documents we received from anonymous tipster(s) who signed their letter, “Honest City Employees.”

Archer explained the wage boost, which carries an annual cost of approximately $520,000, to as a means of catching up to comparator municipalities after lagging behind for years.

The motion to repeal Archer’s delegated authority was presented by Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti, with support from Ward 4 Coun. Pauline Fortin and Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent.

“What’s happened has happened, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Signoretti explained. “We’re just asking to revoke that authority.”

Although the city’s elected officials ended up unanimous in supporting the motion, they took a rocky road to that conclusion, including a heated exchange between Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc and Ward 7 Coun. Natalie Labbée.

Leduc took offence to some city council members’ comments, including those of Labbée, which indicated city council was left in the dark on the wage increases.

“This is definitely one of those situations where asking for forgiveness is a lot better than asking for permission,” Labbée said of Archer, despite the delegated authority she voted to approve affording Archer the permissions in question. “If you don’t have trust, then you have nothing.”

“We all knew exactly what we were doing moving forward,” Leduc said. “It wasn’t like we were blindsided, where there was no disclosure.”

“Unfortunately, it went public,” Leduc added. “When it went public, all of a sudden we’re sitting there saying, ‘Well, we’re caught now, we’ve got to retract what we did.’”

In 2022, the past city council punted responsibility in dealing with the gap in mangers’ pay to the new city council because it would have been “political suicide” to do so before an election, Leduc later added. He also affirmed that city council members were given all of the information about the wage changes at a closed session of city council at budget time.

In a rare move, both city council members and staff spoke during Tuesday night’s meeting about what took place during past closed sessions.

Wage-change information was presented during a closed session in the midst of 2024-25 budget deliberations, city Corporate Services general manager Kevin Fowke told city council, contradicting an assertion Labbée made earlier in the meeting.

“It was provided ahead of our budget deliberations, so it would have been our closed meeting of either Dec. 5 or Dec. 12 of last year,” he said, later adding that it appears “the information for some wasn’t as clear as it needed to be.”

Archer’s delegated authority “was carried out in its full spirit and intent,” Fowke said, clarifying that this was the first time in 20 years that non-union remuneration required such an “enormous intervention” to bring it in line with existing city policies. These policies require non-union city wages to be in the middle of the pack when pitted against a list of comparator municipalities.

“Last year, city council directed our CAO and gave him delegated authority to follow the city council-approved salary administration policy and bring these noted salaries closer to the 50 per cent median, or middle of the pack,” Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh summarized.

“Council did this with the full knowledge of what we were directing our CAO to do and based on the data we were provided.”

While Labbée lamented the fact Archer did not come back to city council prior to enacting wage increases, the delegated authority city council approved in September 2023 did not include this requirement.

By bringing the decision to alter wages back under city council’s control, Ward 5 Coun. MIke Parent said they will now “own that responsibility and maintain that transparency expected of us as elected officials.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, both Fortin and Labbée said they hesitated in granting Archer delegated authority on Sept. 26, 2023. The vote on the bylaw to approve delegated authority took place without discussion during that evening’s public city council meeting.

Tuesday night’s motion to bring future wage alterations into the public forum was tabled by Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier. 

It directs the city to publish pay scales for all job classifications on the open government section of the city’s website along with market adjustment criteria for non-union staff.

Further, it states “that all future reports concerning non-union staff compensation policy be published for debate in open session of the Finance and Administration Committee or City Council.”

Tuesday’s motions to repeal delegated authority and publicize salary decisions public wasn’t city council’s first reaction to last year’s unpublicized salary boosts.

In late March (a week after the leaked documents were first reported on), the city’s elected officials unanimously backed a motion for the city to review the city’s Salary Administration Policy for non-union positions. The Salary Administration Policy was last updated in 2004.

In April, a CUPE spokesperson described the pay boost as “reprehensible,” and that it “dealt a severe blow to the trust between the employer and our union.” CUPE Local 4705 represents unionized City of Greater Sudbury employees. 

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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