As questions mount over development financing, Cari Pupo, Pelham Treasurer since 2008, is terminated for undisclosed reasons
BY DAVE BURKET
With a little less than a month to go before the Town of Pelham is set to defend its financing of the Pelham Community Centre in front of Niagara Regional Council’s Audit Committee, it has terminated the employment of Director of Corporate Services and Treasurer, Cari Pupo.
Pupo was hired as Treasurer in mid-2008, taking over when the previous incumbent, Gord Cherney, retired. She came to the Town from the French public school board, where she was Director of Administrative Services.
Why Pupo was fired remains unclear.
Neither the Mayor, any member of Council, nor CAO Darren Ottaway responded to, or even acknowledged, requests for an explanation or comment.
Marc MacDonald, Pelham’s recently hired Public Relations and Marketing Specialist, issued a short statement at midday on Monday. In its entirely it read: “The Town of Pelham announces that the Director of Corporate Services and Treasurer, Cari Pupo, is no longer employed by the Town. Ms. Pupo is an excellent accountant who has faithfully served the Town during her eight-year tenure with the municipality. The Town thanks Ms. Pupo for her outstanding work and wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”
As news spread of the move on late Monday morning, several individuals in the real estate development, engineering, and construction fields contacted the Voice to express their concerns, off the record, that Pupo was being, to paraphrase, “set up to take the fall,” in the event that the Region uncovers improprieties or poor financial decisions at the Audit Committee meeting set for June 12.
Pupo told the Voice on taking the job in 2008 that she was the person to make sure that budgets weren’t overspent and problems were addressed as soon as possible. This diligence, she said, earned her the nickname “The Cop” in her previous job.
The Voice was unable to reach Pupo for comment before press time.
Town Clerk Nancy Bozzato tells News Editor Nate Smelle that Deputy Treasurer Charolette Tunikaitis will serve as an interim replacement until a new Treasurer is hired.