The City of Calgary's General Manager of Transportation, resigned as a City employee last year under mysterious circumstances.
It later transpired that he and the City Manager agreed to his mutual departure.
The reason for his departure wasn't announced.
The amount of his severance pay wasn't announced.
We didn't even know how much he had been earning in his former job.
The Mayor and City Councillors all seemed to be in the dark about what was happening.
Save Calgary, along with other media outlets, believed that Calgarians deserved to know more about such a significant change in the leadership of our municipal government.
We filed a Freedom of Information request about Mr. Logan's departure in December 2017.
And then we waited. And waited. And waited.
After more than a year of waiting, we got back the report from the City - and the gist of their response to our questions is:
"That's none of your business."
The City of Calgary sent us back a 582-page document that includes all correspondence, memos, and other relevant information on the issue of Mac Logan's departure.
Of those 582 pages, fewer than 10% have any information actually on them. The other pages are fully redacted.
However, reading through those 582 pages did provide us with some interesting information - here's what we learned.
On page 54, we learned that Mac Logan earned a base salary of $321,500 per year. We also learned that he, like other senior City bureaucrats, earned generous pension, medical, and other benefits totaling $41,747.59 - here's how those benefits break down:
- Pension #1 - $23,249.37
- Pension #2 - $4,255.16
- Dental - $1,300.00
- Health - $2,472.40
- Life Insurance - $1,120.60
- "Exec Bus" Allowance - $2,400.06
- Car Allowance - $7,150.00
That brings his total pay and benefits to $363,247.59.
On page 147, we discovered that his decision to resign was a "mutual decision to resign" - which suggests his departure was far from voluntary.
And on page 157, we learned that Mac Logan received a severance payment of $471,596.64.
However, the rest of the document provides some additional insights into those who work behind the scenes in the City's vast bureaucracy.
Pages 183-243, some of them fully redacted, are devoted to the media fall-out of Mac Logan's departure. They show City bureaucrats expressing alarm and concern about media coverage.
There are copies of news stories about the departure, the repeated focus on delivering the agreed upon talking point (that it was a mutual decision to resign), and how incoming media requests are being handled by City's security staff.
On page 197, they even discuss if these conversations could be released under Freedom of Information requests (based on this report - they are.)
Pages 200-201 have screenshots of tweets from various City Hall agitators asking questions about Mac Logan's departure and possible payout. It's unnerving to see City bureaucrats screenshotting tweets from detractors, including their photos, and circulating them to senior officials.
On page 2010, we discover that City staff don't like Calgary Sun reporter Rick Bell, who has helped push this story forward and asked for answers.
Vickie Megrath, who according to her LinkedIn profile is "Client Liaison Lead, Communication" for the City of Calgary, had this to say about Mr. Bell (referring to him by his nickname Dinger).
"Dinger's column is going to be posted online shortly. It's the usual drivel."
It's good to know that City communications staff hold Calgary's media in such high regard.
Finally, on page 280, we discover that despite having a full legal department, and a Human Resources department who also employs lawyers, the City needed to retain an external law firm, Gowlings WLG, to handle Mac Logan's "mutual decision to resign."
It isn't clear how much the City paid to this external law firm, but given the number of e-mails and documents that a Gowling partner is copied on, it won't have been at all cheap.
582 pages of largely redacted documents to manage the mutually agreed upon departure of Transportation boss Mac Logan. Dozens of staff involved, a high priced external law firm engaged, and an absolute obsession with media management and information control.
The last quote that sums up this situation the best comes from City lawyer Rebecca Andersen on page 2:
"I hope this makes sense."
No, Ms. Andersen. It really doesn't.