The resignation, effective immediately, took place about 2:30 Tuesday afternoon and follows discussions held Monday evening regarding issues surrounding Lambert’s management of the facility.
“Jim Lambert is no longer serving as General Manager at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre; he resigned today,” a press release from operations board chairwoman Farida Gabbani said.
“The Operations Board thanks him for (his) service and wishes him well in his future endeavors. An interim manager will be named in the next few days,” she said.
Although Gabbani said the decision to resign was made by Lambert, she also confirmed he has been offered a severance package for which he has been given 72 hours to consider, before a reply is required.
“What the board agreed to was to pay him whatever he is was due (vacation pay or any other money owing to him),” said Bill Masters, deputy mayor of Colchester County, who serves as an officer on the board as one of the municipality’s representatives.
Mayor Bob Taylor, who is also an officer on the board, told the Truro Daily News that while he was not privy to the final discussions surrounding Lambert’s departure, it is his understanding that Lambert is to receive up to a “maximum of four month’s” pay as part of his severance.
“This was part of a package that whatever way it went we would do that,” Taylor said, regarding the severance offer discussed Monday evening.
“Jim was a dedicated guy that meant a lot to us,” he said. “It’s just that we had differences. He gave it everything he had.”
Lambert, whose annual salary was in the $80,000 to $85,000 range, has been general manager at the facility since before its opening.
After its first year of operations, the RECC recorded a deficit of $737,000. A deficit of more than $700,000 was also projected for this year.
When asked whether Lambert was offered a chance to resign or be fired, Taylor said that option was also discussed Monday night, although he was not involved in the final discussions on Tuesday.
“It might’ve come to that,” he said. “As I said earlier, they were going to meet with him, depending on how that discussion went today. Well, that must be how it went, I don’t know. I guess if you want to see somebody go, one way or another, you would offer that, I would think, whether they quit or whatever.”
Taylor said a number of management concerns were discussed during the board meeting.
“When you are managing a facility, it’s not only about having people in place but having back up and having maintenance schedules in place and just things like that, more than anything,” he said.
And given the size and complexity of the RECC, Taylor said proper promotion and plans for “moving the place” ahead” also entered into the discussion.
“And we want it running at its max, that’s for sure.”