#1 2020-08-23 13:15:33

Registered: 2020-08-13
Posts: 181

Manager of information technology Mark Dillon

Cathy Dobson At least 24 employees have left Sarnia City Hall since the 2018 municipal election, prompting some residents to ask what’s behind the “mass exodus.” But CAO Chris Carter says nothing unusual is going on, and hiring will begin shortly to fill 22 positions.
The full employee complement in all departments is normally around 450.
The list of those who have left in the past 21 months includes more than a dozen senior staff.
Six left in July, .

Including city clerk Dianne Gould-Brown and treasurer Suzanna Dieleman

Dieleman resigned after only 17 months, .

Having replaced former treasurer Lisa Armstrong who left in 2019 after three years

Manager of information technology Mark Dillon, city solicitor Scott McEachran, deputy clerk James Jenkins, director of community services Al Shaw, and assistant city solicitor Dan Byskal have resigned since this term of council began.
Some retired.

Including engineering director Mike Berkvins

fire chief John Kingyens, and parks and rec director Rob Harwood. Jim Crawford, manager of human resources, fulfilled his contract and left this year.
The departure of 24 staff in 21 months raises concern about lost experience and expertise at City Hall, said Debbie Martin, a local resident who has tracked the numbers on a 1,600-member Facebook group called Sarnia-Lambton Politics and Governance.
“If the city is short people right now, .

Who is doing the work?” Martin asked

“I don’t blame anyone and I realize there are a number of retirements. But it seems like this turnover of staff isn’t normal.

I just want to know why this is happening.” Anne Marie Gillis

who ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Mike Bradley in the last election, has commented on the site.
“I know all the people who have left and have worked with all of them,” she said.
“I’ve posted to say thank you and say we’ll miss you.” Some turnover is expected but the rate is “concerning,” Gillis added.
“Sarnia has a reputation and, with this high turnover, it’s not good if we want the best and the brightest. I am concerned about the knowledge we’ve lost and the fact that we’ve left a few people with massive amounts of responsibility.” Current councillor Brian White said he’s “not comfortable” with the number of senior and mid-level managers who have left.
Chris Carter, who replaced former CAO Margaret Misek-Evans when she resigned in 2018, initiated a dramatic staff restructuring that was bound to result in some people leaving, White said.
“I think it had to happen, but we’re also seeing a lot of middle managers go too, and that’s of grave concern.
The restructuring is done now and I think we need to wait for a while and see how the pieces fit together.” Coun.
Margaret Bird asked about the vacant positions at a July 13 council meeting. She questioned Carter out of curiosity, not concern, she said.
“Chris has made a number of strategic changes, which is really good,” Bird said. “Instead of nine management groups we’ve now got four or five reporting to him.
“We’ll have to see how it works out but it looks good on paper.” Carter told The Journal that 24 staff leaving City Hall in 21 months is normal.
“There’s not been a high turnover at all,” he said.
The 22 positions need to be filled now because council instituted a hiring freeze in April to save money during the pandemic, Carter said.
He projects an operational surplus of $350,000 at year-end because of “hard decisions” made to close facilities, not hire summer staff, and not replace permanent staff until this month.
With the hiring freeze lifted, applicants are plentiful, Carter said.
The goal is to review each position and fill those not judged redundant.
Reducing the number of senior managers who report to him has streamlined operations, increasing efficiency with the same level of service, Carter said.
“We still have longstanding staff … We have a really great team now,” he added.
“I understand there may be negative assumptions…but I’m all about moving forward and looking after the health and safety of our city.”   The post City Hall hiring again to replace recently lost staff appeared first on The Sarnia Journal.



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