Major changes made to the city's top level management structure.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2019



Burlington City Council approved a new organizational design which will position the City to meet its strategic goals over the balance of this term of Council and beyond.

Commisso stare

City manager Tim Commisso.

Since beginning his appointment as City Manager in July 2019, Tim Commisso, along with Human Resources Director Laura Boyd, have been meeting with staff to get their input into the organization redesign recommended to Council.

This new organizational design, which is effective on September 24, puts more emphasis on strategic management, risk assessment and public accountability; while also positioning us well to attract and retain employees in a growing and competitive marketplace.

The new structure will also enhance and highlight the City’s attention to City-wide customer service and public engagement through business process improvements, corporate-wide training and ongoing transformations such as digital service delivery.

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

This shift has got the Mayor’s finger prints all over it. There were people that she wanted to see moved out of city hall – mission accomplished.

Further, these changes better enable staff to implement City Council’s four-year work plan entitled “Vision to Focus.” An update on Council’s work plan will be shared in the near future.
Highlights of the organizational design changes include:

The new organizational design has been approved by Council within the current staff complement, no additional staff positions were added.

Overall, we are moving forward with an organizational structure led by Executive Directors which will be responsible for providing ongoing leadership and strategic management to the following:

“Service Groups” comprised of the City’s community focused operational departments.

The two “Service Groups,”
Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services
Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility,
also align more closely with the focus areas in Council’s 4-year Work Plan.

“Corporate Strategic Support” functions including Finance, Legal, Human Resources and Information Technology

City Manager Office realigned functions focusing on the corporate priorities of strategy, risk, City-wide customer service and public engagement; this realignment also responds to a Council direction given to the City Manager in February 2019 to review and realign the functions of the City Manager’s Office.

Allan Magi has been appointed Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services. The Roads, Parks & Forestry, Recreation Services, Fire and Capital Works departments will now report to Allan.

Heather_MacDonald COB plannerHeather MacDonald has been appointed Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility with the Transportation Services, Transit, Community Planning and Building departments now reporting to Heather.

A new position of Customer Experience Manager-Business Development has been created in the City Manager’s Office and will play a key role in the implementation of the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet recommendations including working directly with BEDC to provide enhanced support to businesses looking to grow and bring new jobs to Burlington.

A new position of Executive Director of Strategy, Risk and Accountability has been created in the City Manager’s Office and will lead the strategic planning/management, business performance and enterprise risk functions for the organization and ensure the implementation of the many initiatives and actions included in Council’s 4-Year Work Plan.

Org chart 2019

City of Burlington organizational chart. Will it work – does the bench strength needed exist?

The lead of the Customer Experience Manager-Business Development unit was not named nor was the Executive Director of Strategy, Risk and Accountability

With the change to an Executive Director structure, the City has also transitioned away from the Deputy City Manager model; as a result of the redesign, Mary Lou Tanner is no longer with the City. The City of Burlington thanks Mary Lou for her leadership and service to Burlington and wishes her all the best in the future.

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2 comments to Major changes made to the city’s top level management structure.

  • Penny Hersh

    It would be nice to have the names of the city staff on this organizational chart.

  • Stephen White

    In theory and on paper this type of structure should theoretically facilitate better alignment of programs with the Strategic vision of the Mayor and Council. The focus on service is encouraging and could reinforce the message of local government serving the people which has clearly been lacking in recent years.

    Looking at the org chart I wonder if Community Services more rightly belongs under Community Planning rather than Infrastructure. That would have created a clearer differentiation between “hard” and “soft” services (i.e. infrastructure vs. services to the public respectively). Given the plethora of issues and concerns around people management as identified in previous articles in the Gazette I wonder if the Director of HR would be better positioned reporting directly to the City Manager so that these issues are given predominance. Ditto the Communications function which is critical to creating engagement and alignment both within the Corporation and with the general public. Motivated and engaged employees are critical to the City’s ability to fulfill its mandate, and communication of vision, programs and plans is vital to promoting understanding and awareness.