Some Council members were expecting more in the way of senior staff changes. Is there more? Should there be more?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 13, 2012   Some Council members expected something quite different in the way of staff changes that were released after the  Council meeting Monday night.

The City Clerk quietly distributed a notice announcing that the position of General Manager for Development and Infrastructure was vacant and that Steve Zorbas would move from Acting General Manager of Development and Infrastructure and return to his former position as Executive Director of Finance.

There was no discussion or debate during the Council meeting on the changes.  There was however, a very lengthy Closed Session discussion during the Budget and Corporate Services meeting previously, during which Jeff Fielding,  the City Manager would have set out the changes he wanted to make and the direction he was going with his staff development.

Some Council members, two at least, were expecting even larger changes to be announced and were disappointed with the scope of what was released Monday evening.   We are advised that Council is expecting to hear more in the not too distant future.

Some of the staff changes city Manager Fielding has put into place got their start back when Tim Dobbie, on the right, was city manager.

Coming into an organization, assessing the talent and then deciding who is living up to the standard you expect is never an easy task for a new chief executive officer, which is what the city manager is. It takes time to determine just what you have in the way of a team and where the changes have to be made.

It’s not an easy job – but it has to be done.

A look at the existing staff and the structure and the “top 60” as they are being called by the City Manager, reveals a number of places where change is needed – not the least of which is the way some of the people got the positions they now have in the first place.

Roy Make, current head of Human Resources

Human Resource management is both an art and a science that hasn’t been seen around city hall south in the last number of years.  Errors made as far back as ten years ago have to be corrected; Council was expecting to see more of those corrections made last week.

We – and those Council members look forward to hearing more.

It needs to be said that there are some very, very talented people doing fine work and growing in the job they do.  There are staff reports with excellent municipal administrative work being shown.  We don’t intend to be chintzy here when we say “some” we are talking about a lot of people, not just a handful.

City Council recently approved removing the “acting” from the title of Director, Parks and Recreation that Chris Glenn holds.  That removal was earned and deserved.


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