Erin CAO “˜steps down”™ after eight months on sick leave

Erin’s CAO has stepped down from her role due to “personal commitments,” the town announced on Jan. 18.

“It’s with regret that I announce that after 24 years (with the municipality), Kathryn Ironmonger will be stepping down from her position as the CAO/town manager,” Mayor Allan Alls said in a brief press release.

Alls would not offer any details about Ironmonger’s departure, which is effective Jan. 31.

“There’s only one comment I can make and you have to understand that this is a legal matter as much as anything … basically, she’s stepping down for personal reasons,” Alls told the Advertiser on Jan. 19.

In a phone interview on Jan. 24, Ironmonger was also short on details.

“I guess my discussion or my decisions … for stepping down is personal and confidential, and I would like it to remain that way,” she said.

Neither Alls nor Ironmonger would comment on possible monetary compensation paid to the CAO, though Alls hinted some sort of agreement was involved.

“She’s stepped down for personal reasons and the settlement is between her and the town and it’s confidential,” he said.

Ironmonger said, “I’m going to leave everything confidential and personal at this point. I don’t think there’s any need to go into it.”

Ironmonger has been on leave from the town since May 2016.

Since that time Alls has refused to discuss apparent animosity between Ironmonger and councillors. He also has not commented on whether the CAO’s leave has anything to do with a complaint discussed by council in closed session in June.

“She’s off sick … that’s all I can tell you. I really can’t say any more,” Alls said following the June 21 council meeting.

Ironmonger said on Tuesday the reason she went on leave is personal.

“I think that there’s been enough in the public stated and I think I’m going to leave it at that,” she told the



“What was stated was confidential and it was my personal information, and I’m not going to expand on what was already provided because it shouldn’t have been provided in the first place.”

In June the town hired Derek McCaughan as an interim CAO and in September Alls announced that McCaughan would fill the role indefinitely.

Ironmonger has not been back to work since she went on leave and would not return before her final day on Jan. 31, Alls told the Advertiser.

Alls confirmed the town will be advertising and interviewing for the position this spring.

Vote of confidence

In August 2015, Erin council passed an unusual resolution that expressed “strong confidence in the leadership” of three town staff members, including Ironmonger, following a special closed meeting.

The session, labelled an “emergency” meeting by town officials and held just two days after council’s regular meeting, was called to discuss “an HR matter,” said Alls at the time.

Asked if the closed meeting dealt with a complaint, Alls said, “I guess you could surmise it must have been something that came up that caused a resolution.”

Councillor Matt Sammut called the resolution “strange.”

But it wasn’t the first time Erin councillors took the unusual step of passing a motion that expressed support for Ironmonger.

Less than two years earlier, in December 2013, the previous council passed a “vote of confidence” stating the CAO/town manager was fulfilling responsibilities of the position to the satisfaction of council.

Fourth CAO in five years

The person who takes over as the town’s top administrative employee, will be Erin’s fourth full-time CAO in five years.

In April 2012, CAO (town manager) Lisa Hass announced her retirement after 24 years with the municipality. She stayed on contract until June 2012.

Ironmonger, who was serving as clerk, took over temporarily as acting CAO until the hiring of Frank Miele in October of 2012. Just seven months later, on May 7, 2013, Miele was terminated.

Miele filed a lawsuit against the town, Ironmonger and former councillors Barb Tocher, Josie Wintersinger and Deb Callaghan. The statement of claim, filed in May 2015 in Brampton, seeks damages of $750,000 plus the costs of the legal action.

Miele claims that during his time as CAO the three councillors “devised a plan to ensure that their friend, Ironmonger, obtained the job as the new CAO.” The claim has not been proven in court.

Ironmonger was hired as the CAO on June 25, 2013. During the meeting Lou Maieron, mayor at the time, walked out in protest. He expressed concern with how the meeting was held and the hiring process for the CAO position.

McCaughan has been filling the role of interim CAO since June 2016 and will continue to do so until a new CAO has been hired to replace Ironmonger.