04/17/2015 08:30 EDT | Updated 07/02/2015 02:59 EDT

Doug Allin, Grand Forks CAO, re-hired after $200K severance payout

Residents of Grand Forks, B.C., are calling for an investigation into the decision to fire, pay almost $200,000 severance to, and then rehire the city's Chief Administrative Officer — all in a matter of months.

Doug Allin had been in the job in the West Kootenay city for just over two years, when he was relieved of his duties after a new mayor and council was elected last fall.

As far as the public was aware, Allin hadn't done anything to warrant being dismissed. He was also awarded a significant severance payout — a total of $192,000 made up of a cash and benefits package.

So, in February, when a press release announced that the city had hired Allin back to work in his previous position — at a salary of $133,000 a year — residents were understandably surprised.

'Just outrageous'

Donald Pharand was so shocked at Allin's re-hiring, he filed a Freedom Of Information request to find out what exactly happened, and is calling on B.C.'s Auditor-General for local government to investigate.

"Every question that has been asked around the dismissal of Mr. Allin always came with the reply, 'It was in camera'," Pharand told CBC News.

"The amount of money is just outrageous. Then he gets his job back," he said. "I'm going to hit the streets with a petition to the B.C. government asking them to step in."

Cecil Konken agrees, and has also issued an F.O.I. to find out more about the deal.

"For a small community, we can't afford to waste money," he said. "That's taxpayers' money...The public should be aware of where their money is being tossed."

400 hours of overtime

In a notice placed in the local newspaper, council explained the terms of Allin's severance and his re-hiring.

Under the terms of his severance, the notice reads, Allin agreed to provide — "when needed" — consultation through a private company, Urban Systems, for a period of six months. He was also allowed use of a laptop and cellphone.

The notice stated that in addition to a salary of $133,000 per year, plus five weeks' vacation, Allin's new three-year contract also included a "contribution from Mr. Allin of 400 hours of overtime" to offset the severance package.

The city received 40 applications — mostly from out of province — but, they say, Allin was the best candidate.

Mayor Frank Konrad — elected last fall, just before Allin was let go — said the decision was made by council.

"I go with council's decisions," he told CBC News. "We run as a committee and they thought it was best...Doug Allin knows the city and is a very competent individual."