Planner made deputy city manager - Mary Lou Tanner wins the search for a deputy - this will mean changes to the planning department

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 7th, 2017



The City of Burlington announces that effective December 21, 2017; Mary Lou Tanner will assume the position of Deputy City Manager. Tanner was the successful candidate after a comprehensive internal competition.

Tanner is currently the Chief Planner and Director of the Department of City Building for the City of Burlington. Tanner has been with the city since November 2015 heading the department responsible for planning, building, by-law and culture.


Mary Lou Tanner will assume the position of Deputy City Manager.

Tanner is a well-recognized and experienced leader in municipal planning and development and is a Past President of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and a graduate of the Planning School at Queen’s University.
The Deputy City Manager role is a new position at the City of Burlington which will report to City Manager James Ridge.

Key responsibilities of the Deputy City Manager include:

• Serve as the city’s representative for all Agencies, Boards and Commissions; acting in an advisory and liaison capacity for each organization and helping plan and coordinate major capital projects.

• Being responsible for the diversity and inclusivity portfolio; ensuring a strategy is developed, and implemented across the organization for all services and programs;

• Overseeing the Project Management Office, ensuring the priorities of this office are aligned with the Strategic Plan and corporate work plans and work with the Senior Leadership team to identify and establish priorities across the organization.

A transition plan including an acting Director of City Building will be announced in the near future; however in the meantime Tanner will continue to lead the work on the completion of the city’s new Official Plan.

James Ridge Day 1 - pic 2

James Ridge on his first council meeting as city manager.

Prior to city manager James Ridge being appointed Burlington had three General Managers. One was shown the door, another retired and a third Scott Stewart took a position as deputy city manager in Guelph. Stewart was a candidate for the city manager position.
Ridge has been running the city with his office being the report to point for all the Directors.

Sometime will be needed to think through just what this small level or re-organization is going to mean to the citizens of the city.

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4 comments to Planner made deputy city manager – Mary Lou Tanner wins the search for a deputy – this will mean changes to the planning department

  • Stephen White

    Her appointment provides fodder for those of us arguing for a purge of public servants at City Hall after the next municipal election. Brampton’s new mayor cleaned out about 30 bureaucrats after the 2014 election, and I hope the same occurs here after next October’s election.

  • Stu Parr

    “comprehensive internal competition” – something of an oxymoron I think. If you want to change the staff culture at City Hall you don’t draw only from within. You only restrict the competition to internal candidates when you want to create a self-contained team that follows your understood playbook – in my humble opinion.

    • Eve

      Ironic that current City Manager was wooed from BC and has no experience with Burlington at all, yet likes to make insane decisions i.e 27 storey condo opposite his workplace . Secondly ,with the small population of this city why do we need a Deputy City Manager ?,can Mr Ridge not handle his responsibilities or perhaps he has his hands in too many pots that don’t belong

  • William

    Reading this announcement gave me the chills. Tanner’s promotion leaves me worried for the future of our city.

    I won’t say Tanner is dishonest, but she is certainly not a straight shooter. She has made end-runs around the public by keeping everyone in the dark on her agenda through obfuscation and sloganeering.

    The arm’s length distance between developers and the planning department has disappeared under her watch. They have invited the developers to increase the size of their proposals on at least occasions (421 Brant, Adi’s Alton dev’t and National Homes on Brant).

    Rewarding her inappropriate behaviour with a promotion reflects on Ridge’s judgement while setting a tone at city hall. He seems motivated to create more barriers between his office and the public.