Mayor’s right hand man chooses to drive along a different road – resigns effective year end.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  September 25, 2012   Frank McKeown, Mayor Goldring’s right hand man and chief strategist will be leaving the Office of the Mayor and being replaced by Jackie Isada effective the end of the year.  These are two radically different people and will result in much more humour on the eighth floor.

Frank McKeown, on the left, was always one of the smartest people in the room, was a strong right hand for Mayor Goldring during his first year in office, is now leaving after serving the Mayor for two years. He is shown here with Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman.

McKeown is a thinker,  he is very strong at identifying a problem and putting together different scenarios that work their way into becoming solutions.  But Frank McKeown will never get a job as a stand-up comedian at Yuk Yuks.

Whereas Isada has a great sense of humour and is strong at the execution level – she gets things done and is a strong idea person.  A Newfoundlander, who followed her heart to Ontario and a person that loves people and works exceptionally well with just about anyone – she will be a significant addition to the Office of the Mayor.

City Manager Jeff Fielding can provide the Mayor with all the deep thinking he needs – the concern is that the political aspects of the job of being Mayor not be run over by the administrative side that Fielding handles.

McKeown and the Mayor go back a bit.  Frank worked with Goldring on his election campaign and has been invaluable for Goldring during his first year in office.  There were some exceptionally malicious and cruel remarks made by some staff at city hall who should have known better about how much the Mayor relied on McKeown.

McKeown did provide a level of understanding on issues that Goldring needed and became a second set of eyes and ears for the Mayor. Goldring’s choice of McKeown was a wise one at the time.  We predicted that McKeown would move on about six months ago – we were a little ahead of the news flow on that one.

Goldring announced the staffing change earlier and announced that McKeown will leave his position as chief of staff  at  the end of the year.  He will be replaced by Jackie Isada of the Burlington Economic Development Corp. (BEDC) taking over the role in January.

“I have had two positive and successful years working for Mayor Rick Goldring,” McKeown said. “I am now making more time for family and focusing on new opportunities.”

McKeown, an entrepreneur, technology buff and sports enthusiast, was an active fundraiser before he began his work with Mayor Goldring. In addition to being past president of the Burlington Old-timers Hockey Club, McKeown helped raise money for such groups as the Appleby Ice Centre ice users to offset the cost of adding ice pads to the city’s arena. He is on the board of the ROCK (Reach Out Centre for Kids) Foundation.

“I have enjoyed working with Frank and appreciate his insights and community-mindedness,” said Mayor Goldring. “I look forward to our ongoing friendship, and I know Frank will continue to add to the vibrancy of this city.”

During the development of the city’s Strategic Plan McKeown sat in on the vast majority of the meetings and began to be referred to as the “seventh” councillor.  His presence and the degree of involvement on his part was not always appreciated by some staff.

Jackie Isada will bring her wonderful Newfoundland chuckle and her ability to work with people to the Office of the Mayor. Rick Goldring may never be the same.

Isada, Manager of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships with the BEDC, will join the mayor’s team in January 2013.

“I am pleased to announce that Jackie will be joining my team,” said Mayor Goldring. “Jackie brings with her a new perspective and diverse skill set that includes economic development, marketing and event management. She is a strong communicator who has worked at the provincial and municipal levels of government and has a talent for forging relationships.”

Isada has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Memorial University, is a member of the Economic Developers Association of Canada and is on the marketing awards committee for the Economic Developers Council of Ontario.

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2 comments to Mayor’s right hand man chooses to drive along a different road – resigns effective year end.

  • AC

    I am a little confused as to the relevance of some of your comments in the first three paragraphs. In reading the article I was looking for information on the change in staff at city hall, not in the quality of their joke telling skills. In fact I do not even see why that is relevant. I am more interested in Ms. Isada’s skills than her “wonderful Newfoundland chuckle”.

  • @ArmchairCouncil

    Pepper – your analysis was limited in that you didnt foresee this as a move towards Frank running for a seat on Council again in two years.