'I just don't know': Former Whitehorse city manager baffled by firing

'I just don't know': Former Whitehorse city manager baffled by firing

Christine Smith, who was abruptly fired this week from her job as Whitehorse city manager, says she's mystified about the reason for her dismissal.

"I just don't know anything," she said Wednesday.

- City of Whitehorse fires city manager Christine Smith 

The city issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon, saying Smith's appointment had been "revoked." On Wednesday, the city issued another statement, adding that Smith had been removed "without cause."

Smith says she received a letter last week informing her that the dismissal process had been initiated, but says she has not yet been told why.

She says the mayor and council would have had to meet and vote on a bylaw to enact her dismissal. She believes that happened on Tuesday.

The city's initial news release said there would no further comment on what it called "a Human Resources matter."

'I've loved my job'

"I've appreciated the opportunity that I've had to serve council and the citizens of Whitehorse as their city manager," Smith said.

She was hired for the position in 2014. She said her lawyer negotiated her terms of employment and she has not signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Smith says there was no reason to believe her job was at risk. 

"I have never had a negative performance review," she said.

"I've loved my job, I've loved empowering my staff and enabling them to get the good work of the city done, and I have had positive feedback from my staff."

The year after Smith's appointment, two long-time city managers were fired — corporate services director Rob Fendrick, and operations and infrastructure director Brian Crist.

Smith said at the time that the two were dismissed "without cause". The move made waves at city hall, though — councillor Kirk Cameron resigned in protest, and Fendrick later ran for council and won a seat.

Smith would not speculate on whether the 2015 firings played any part in her own dismissal, two years later. 

"I've hardly spoken to councillor Fendrick in the time that he's been a councillor, so I just don't know," Smith said.

Smith says her lawyer is now negotiating with the city for a severance package.