Former Thompson-Nicola Regional District CAO, Sukh Gill. KTW photo

Former Thompson-Nicola Regional District CAO payout exceeds $500,000

  • Jun. 24, 2020 5:30 p.m.

Jessica Wallace

Kamloops This Week

Kamloops This Week (KTW) has learned the payout given to former Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) CAO is more than originally revealed by the government agency.

Sukh Gill suddenly left the TNRD in February, with the regional district claiming he had retired.

However, following numerous requests from KTW, the regional district in early May released terms of a settlement agreement with Gill, which the regional district said was a compromise agreement based on a disputed claim, the details of which the district said will not be released.

The settlement agreement showed Gill is receiving more than $350,000 and that the regional district was required legally to call his resignation a retirement.

Last week, KTW had learned the TNRD will, in fact, pay Gill more than a half-million dollars via the settlement agreement.

A Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request for the total cost of Gill’s payout — filed after the regional district earlier released settlement terms and salary continuance costs — shows the settlement amounts to $516,789.37, plus the unknown costs of a laptop and cellphone.

The TNRD’s legal fees to deal with the matter are not factored into that figure.

The breakdown for the payout is as follows: 20 months of salary continuance costs through 2021, valued at $346,723.44, as previously released, another $111,389.89 to be paid out for accumulated vacation days and $55,676.04 in benefits.

Gill had 140 banked vacation days at the time of his departure after the TNRD board voted at the end of 2019 to carry over Gill’s banked vacation time into 2020.

Payout for those days was included in his settlement agreement and will be split up and added to his salary continuance payments.

In addition, Gill’s continued benefits breakdown includes $34,845.17 in employer municipal pension plan premiums, $12,570.40 in employer group benefits premiums and $8,260.47 in Canadian Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and WorkSafeBC premiums.

The settlement also included $3,000 toward Gill’s legal or counselling fees and allowed him to keep his TNRD laptop, wiped of regional district information, and purchase a cell phone. The costs of the laptop and cellphone could not be provided.

“It is my understanding that there is no value that can be attached to the laptop and a phone has not been procured,” TNRD director of legislative services Deanna Campbell wrote in a response to KTW’s request.

The regional district notes the salary continuance will be paid out monthly for 20 months, contingent upon Gill not securing alternative employment earnings of more than $2,000 per month.

For any amounts he earns over that amount, the TNRD will deduct 50 per cent of such amount from the payments.

Should Gill secure employment earning 80 per cent or more of his TNRD salary, the regional district will cease payments and will pay him a lump sum of 50 per cent of the payments remaining.

The regional district initially said Gill resigned, then changed its story, claiming Gill retired.

Documents later proved the regional district was legally required via a settlement agreement to call Gill’s departure a retirement, though the regional district will not disclose the reason why Gill was effectively paid to leave its employ.

A press release issued by the TNRD on May 1 — after KTW originally published a story on his payouts — stated “the reasons for Mr. Gill’s departure will not be disclosed because the TNRD (like all public bodies) is legally prohibited from discussing those matters under the privacy legislation.

“We regret not being able to disclose all relevant information from the outset, but we are prohibited by law from doing so.”

Gill’s Payout by the numbers:

• Total payout: About $520,000

• Breakdown of payout: About $350,000 in salary for 20 months into 2021, about $110,000 in banked vacation days, about $55,000 in benefits, $3,000 in legal or counselling fees, unknown costs of a new cell phone and the TNRD’s former laptop (estimated about $2,000).

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