Nearly four months since the City of Windsor and its CAO Jason Reynar parted ways, political commentators remain curious about how the relationship ended.
Local watchers also wonder if the city violated its own 20-year bylaw in the process.
“It was kind of done in haste. It was kind of done quickly and we didn’t get a lot of public commentary on it,” said Rose City Politics host Don Merrifield. “So no one really knows what happened.”
Merrifield questioned the process after it was revealed a hearing for Reynar, which he was entitled to before dismissal according to the by-law, did not apparently happen.
“It just opens up a lot more questions about the process for when he was let go,” Merrifield said.
In April, The City of Windsor announced Jason Reynar was departing his role as Chief Administrative Officer, a role he held for just under a year.
The bylaw listed on the city’s website states: “Council may, in its sole discretion, suspend or dismiss the Chief Administrative Officer subject to compliance with any statutory requirements or contractual agreement, and subject to the right of the Chief Administrative Officer to a hearing before Council. The Chief Administrative Officer shall not be dismissed except by by-law.”
“When things like this happen, you start to think the mayor is just running things as his own little empire and rules only apply when they’re convenient,” Merrifield said.
Officials from the City of Windsor and the office of Mayor Drew Dilkens declined CTV’s request for comment, saying comments couldn’t be made on personnel matters.
“You’re not commenting on him. You’re commenting on a by-law contravention,” Merrifield explained to CTV News. “So I don’t see how they’re using that for cover. And if they are, you got to ask why, right?”
Meanwhile, during his first policy announcement since declaring his intention for mayor, Coun. Chris Holt addressed the situation confirming he and three other councillors voted against Reynar’s dismissal saying it was a contentious issue.
“I can’t speak to a lot of it because it all happened in camera. So it’s a personnel issue,” he said.
Holt said he appreciated many of the progressive ideas Reynar brought forward, saying the next council following this fall’s municipal election will still need to select a new CAO.
“So whether or not we go back out and look outwards, or we look inwards for it, that’s up to the new to the new council,” Holt said. “So I really hope they make a wise decision because a good working relationship with the CAO is important.”
“It’s a very important move and I wish the new city council well in making that decision.”
“It just raises more questions than answers,” Merrifield continued. “And if they just would come out and say, look, it happened like this A, B and C, you’d go okay, fine. We understand. And we overlooked a bylaw that we forgot was on the books, you know, we apologize, we’re gonna have to take it off the books but whatever the process is, the process will be going forward.”
CTV News Windsor tried to reach out to Reynar, but did not hear back by news time.