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Former Abbotsford city manager paid out more than $300,000

Former Abbotsford city manager Frank Pizzuto received a $300,000-plus payout when he left his position. - File Photo
Former Abbotsford city manager Frank Pizzuto received a $300,000-plus payout when he left his position.
— image credit: File Photo

Frank Pizzuto’s departure from the City of Abbotsford cost taxpayers $321,000, according to information obtained by The Abbotsford News through a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request.

On Dec. 11, 2012 the city issued a press release announcing Pizzuto’s resignation from the position of city manager as of Jan. 4, 2013.

At the time, Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman told the News he believed Pizzuto would receive a payout, based on the agreement he signed upon his hiring in 2008. However, he did not know what the figure would be.

Documents released by the city are missing several figures which were withheld under section 22(3)(f) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which protects a person’s right to privacy.

However, it does list the total monies owed to Pizzuto as $321,092 before taxes.

That figure includes approximately $241,500 for the “severance period” of Jan. 7, 2013 to Jan. 6, 2014, plus $38,000 for paid vacation for 2013 and any holidays not taken in 2012.

It also includes about $41,500 in employer-paid benefits – including car allowance, cell phone costs, medical and dental benefits, EI, CPP, and other benefits.

A breakdown of how much was paid for each benefit was not provided.

Banman said he doesn’t like having to pay severance, but called it the “price of doing business.”

“It’s standard  procedure in these types of jobs for there to be a severance package. They are high-risk jobs.”

He said as he understands it, the package was part of Pizzuto’s contract.

“Otherwise we wouldn’t have had to pay it to him.”

Pizzuto has not spoken publicly since his resignation.

Pizzuto, 61, was the city’s highest paid employee, earning $249,005 in 2011.

He came to Abbotsford in June 2008. Prior to that, he was the chief administration officer for the town of Amherstburg, Ont.

George Murray has been named Abbotsford’s new city manager. The chief administrative officer for the Fraser Valley Regional District, and former secretary-treasurer with the Abbotsford school district, he will begin his new position effective Feb. 4, 2013.

In September 2007, former city manager Gary Guthrie was paid $263,016 in compensation when he left city hall and retired.  That figure included 67 weeks of salary and 67 weeks of pension payments.

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