Former City Manager Sues City, City Fires Back

Robert Thomas

Former City Manager Matt Noble has filed suit against the City of Moose Jaw for constructive dismissal seeking well over $50,000 in a claim the City says is unfounded in its defense.

In his statement of claim filed April 17, 2018 Noble asserts with the formation of the new City Council in October 2016.

"Mr Noble states that the relationship between the City Administration, of which the City Manager is a part, and City Council became strained when the City Council was formed in October 2016," according to court documents.

Matt Noble  Photo: Lisa Goudy

Matt Noble

Photo: Lisa Goudy

Noble claims that after City Council was formed in October 2016 the City "prevented him from performing his job duties, and actively undermined his position as City Manager."

The statement of claim asserts on February 23, 2017 that Noble raised his concerns with Council about the "unfair statements being made toward the Administration in public forums, and the general undermining of the City Administration."

On March 6, 2017 a memorandum was prepared by the City Solicitor for the Personnel Committee to address concerns raised by Noble to avoid personalizing civic debates "by publicly criticizing or injuring the professional reputation of the City Administration."

On April 6, 2017, Mayor Frasier Tolmie provided a written apology to Noble regarding the former City Manager's concerns regarding the treatment of Administration, the Statement of Claim alleges.

"Mr Noble says that the City, without cause, or any reasonable notice, unilaterally and fundamentally changed the terms of his employment contract by failing to provide him with meaningful work, or a meaningful position, commensurate with his years of experience and skills and abilities from October 26 onward.

Noble is seeking his remaining employment contract amount, employment benefits such as group insurance and car allowance, damages for bad faith in how he was treated in the amount of $35,000, interest under the Pre-Judgement Interest Act, costs of the action and any other relief the court may deem just.

In its June 18, 2018 Statement of Defence the City disputes all of Noble's claims.

In its Statement of Defence, the claim is made that on September 29, 2017 representatives of the City met with Noble to tell him that under the terms of his contract the City had decided not to extend his contract past Sept 30, 2018.

It should be noted that, if true and proven in court, this was prior to the new Council's election and swearing in.

The City's Statement of Defence says that Noble was not dismissed constructively, or otherwise, but his employment contract ended when Noble resigned within terms of his employment contract.

The City denied fundamentally changing Noble's contract and further denied failing to provide meaningful work or a meaningful position with the City and "denies creating a hostile or caustic work environment as alleged, or at all.

On November 15, 2017 Noble presented his resignation letter to be effective January 15, 2018 with Mayor Tolmie speaking to Noble on November 20 asking him to reconsider and stay until September 30, 2018 the City's defense claims.

On November 22, 2017 a letter was sent by the Mayor to Noble stating he was not being dismissed constructively or otherwise and once again requested Noble to remain until his contract's expiration on September 30, 2018, the City's defence claims.

"The plaintiff is not entitled to any damages for the loss of his employment, as he voluntarily resigned his employment,' the City claims in their defence.

The City's Statement of Defence goes on to state that Noble has not suffered any damages and if he has the City is not liable for them. The City requests the case be dismissed and costs awarded.
Asked to comment on the case, Mayor Tolmie declined comment as it was a matter before the courts.

It needs to be noted neither statements of claim or defence have been proven in a court of law.
Editorial Note - In answer to questions regarding this story, MJ Independent was initially offered this story from a confidential local source three weeks ago but it came with strings attached so it was passed on.