Changes have taken place at the top at Campbell River City Hall, but City Manager Deborah Sargent says the public generally won’t see much of a difference. Mirror File Photo

Changes at the top of Campbell River City Hall

Most won’t notice much of a difference, but there are some different titles on some city desks

The City of Campbell River has re-assigned a number of management and council portfolios to better support council’s strategic plan.

“The new corporate structure replaces the previous four-general manager structure and consolidates this leadership into the roles of three senior managers,” says city manager Deborah Sargent. “By re-considering the role of a general manager position and by removing, adding and adjusting other positions, the plan ensures key management roles in all city departments are adequately staffed and provides additional support for key council priorities.”

Some members of the City’s management staff changed portfolios earlier this month when a new corporate structure took effect.

“In most cases, community members won’t notice a change as departments will remain in their current location,” Sargent adds. “Some managers changing portfolios will move offices and take different seats for council meetings. Also, three current managers are taking on expanded duties as directors to support departments combining forces in the new divisions. Community members will be introduced to people in these positions during their regular interactions with city staff.”

Council has endorsed this plan because it follows best practices in local government management, combines departments with common functions for more efficient delivery of community services, focuses on improving procedures and provides additional support for council’s strategic priorities.

“When people leave the organization, the senior managers review vacant positions and consider opportunities to streamline duties and improve the way we work,” Sargent adds. “With the resignation of a general manager last spring, we began looking at the overall structure, and feedback from our management team confirmed that we had an opportunity to make broader changes that bring together departments with similar functions for more effective collaboration and greater operational efficiency.”

Typically, re-structures come about in response to a need to cut costs. The last re-structure at the City of Campbell River occurred in 2009 and resulted in layoffs.

“The good news here is that these changes were targeting ways to enhance an already high-functioning team of employees,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “The effect of these changes on ongoing service delivery will be cost neutral, and we will report to Council on any cost savings by the end of the year.”

Highlights of the changes

· Developers will meet a new director of planning (Peter Wipper) who supports development, long range planning, sustainability and property services functions.

· A new director of operations (Drew Hadfield) will integrate the highly-visible roads and drainage, parks, transit, solid waste, fleet and facilities functions to maximize use of existing resources.

· The chief financial officer position becomes a director of finance (Myriah Foort), with purchasing and risk management added to the portfolio.

· Recreation and Culture join a broader division focused on community service excellence.

Strategic and Corporate

The city manager (Deborah Sargent) remains unchanged.

The deputy city manager (Ron Neufeld) will oversee corporate and protective services and support the city manager on strategic action related to management and governance, external relationships and corporate systems.

Community Development

A General Manager (Ron Bowles) will lead a more unified and coordinated approach to community planning, development, recreation, culture, social services, property management, bylaw and airport services. Businesses, developers, community groups and individual citizens will benefit from greater attention to continued improvement on these council-directed and customer-focused services that promote Campbell River’s advantage.

Assets and Operations

A General Manager (Dave Morris) will lead the coordinated delivery of essential services and related operations. The abundance of City-owned infrastructure will be built, operated and maintained by this division.

“The director positions were all filled internally, and incorporate duties previously held by these managers, except in the case of Peter Wipper becoming the director of planning. We will be recruiting for a new city clerk,” Sargent says. “This new structure also provides additional opportunities for employee advancement, which should help the city retain employees and decrease time and cost associated with future recruitment.”