Settlement terms revealed
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – City Treasurer Edward Bourassa is expected to tender his resignation letter at the May 21 City Council meeting in a document which, at his request, will reveal the settlement terms.
Bourassa’s attorney, Edward Zelenak, confirmed May 20 that Bourassa’s letter will be formally submitted to the City Council and Mayor Rick Sollars at the meeting.
Bourassa, who served in the elected office for the past 5 ½ years, and who said he is the city’s first certified professional treasurer, said in his letter that during his tenure he assembled a highly competent, dedicated team who run the treasurer’s office with exceptional service and the use of innovative technology, which has improved service timeliness and accuracy.
“I am leaving knowing that the office is in good hands,” Bourassa said in the letter. “I have serious health issues affecting my mobility, and even though I was not able to be physically present in the office, the technological improvements we adopted allowed me to discharge my duties remotely.”
Bourassa said he was “ambushed” by the mayor and city council at its Dec. 18, 2018, meeting, when the body voted to terminate his salary. He said he continued to work remotely even when he was no longer receiving a salary.
“I received no notice of this meeting, and was not afforded an opportunity to tell my side of the story,” Bourassa said of the Dec. 18 meeting. “As any other public employee, the U.S. Constitution guarantees me due process. I fought back with a federal lawsuit to enforce my rights.”
Bourassa contends that only the governor or a citywide recall election have the power to remove him from his elected office.
“Ignoring the law, the council and mayor, with the assistance of the city attorney, tried to railroad me out of office with a phony hearing,” Bourassa said.
Bourassa said he felt it was in his best interest to resolve his legal dispute with city officials, and said he was offered a $45,000 settlement. He said he refused a gag order on the settlement, insisting on transparency.
“Some think I settled cheap, and some think I didn’t deserve anything,” Bourassa said. “The settlement was fair, and I wanted to move on so that all the stress associated with this fight could be eliminated, and I could focus on improving my health.
“I agreed to a settlement that worked best for me and the taxpayers. To all who supported me, I say thank you. The treasurer’s office is in good hands, and I know you will be taken care of promptly and professionally.”
Bourassa expressed concern about city council and mayor.
“There is pervasive arrogance and egomania permeating city government,” Bourassa said. “I am a victim of this hubris. Some of our leaders are not trustworthy, and we all need to keep a careful eye on them to make sure they act professionally, morally and legally.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)