Council retains final authority over selection and appointment of senior staff, if new bylaw is approved

UPDATED: Council delays final reading of administrative bylaw

Council Monday held off passing a bylaw that would give council ultimate authority in the hiring of staff.

The bylaw, along with two other related house-keeping bylaws, was sitting at third reading heading into Monday’s council meeting.

Coun. Judy Brownoff asked for the postponment because of concerns about the bylaw’s impact on staff hiring. Specifically, she wanted chief administrative officer Paul Thorkelsson to answer questions about how the bylaw might impact the hiring of operational staff. Council approved the postponment — which also impacted two related bylaws — unanimously.

Council’s decision marks a temporary delay in the expected passage of the Officers and Administrative Structure Bylaw, 2017. Its primary impact concerns the selection and appointment of senior staff.

While staff under the leadership of the chief administrative officer (CAO) will continue to handle the recruitment of senior staff, council will have the final say in the selection and appointment of staff.

“This is going to ultimately require council’s approval for either of these things to proceed, which would be selection and appointment,” said Mayor Richard Atwell last week. “For me, I want [contracts] to be captured as well. I do want to see all of the contracts.”

Atwell said he is especially interested in seeing provisions dealing with severance packages to avoid any future financial surprises.

“We don’t want to get involved in the recruitment, but I believe that we need to be involved in the contract and that we need to be involved in the appointment,” he said. Virtually most cases will not require much work from council, he said. “But I do believe council needs to have the control and not delegate this way. This is very important for council to retain and there is no harm to retain it.”

These points emerged as council considered the new bylaw during its last meeting on July 10 following a presentation by Ken Watson, director legislative services.

The bylaw as presented last week proposed that the CAO select and appoint senior staff categorized as officers of the district. These positions include among others the CAO, department heads, in some cases their deputies, the police and fire chief. ,

Under the current process, council does not hire senior staff that qualify as officers per se, the public heard from acting chief administrative officer Laura Ciarniello. It instead meets them informally following their selection. It also receives a recommendation from staff to appoint them as officers.

Several members of council including Coun. Leif Wergeland and Coun. Fred Haynes however raised questions about this approach.

Describing such an informal meeting, Haynes wondered what the point of it was. While nobody had ever questioned a hiring choice by a CAO during all of his years on council, it is important for council to retain the final say, added Wergeland.

These and other points eventually led council to amend the proposed bylaw, which also creates two new officer positions to the existing ones: director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal services, and municipal solicitor. Their creation flowed directly out of this budget’s process and requires Saanich to amend its administrative structure.

Ciarniello told the public that Saanich will communicate the organizational changes once the district has come closer to hiring the new positions.

Just Posted

Officials worry of fire risk at homeless camp

Regina Park camp has grown to 77 tents

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of Victoria couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

More than 150 tremors hit Vancouver Island in last 24 hours

Seismologists monitor to see if pressure will be added to major fault

Crews search for missing kayaker near Sooke

The person was seen launching their kayak from Beecher Bay on Monday at noon

Forced to flee: public partakes in refugee simulation

Locals go through detailed scenarios in honour of World Refugee Day

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Police find capsized boat near Tofino, 3 men still missing

Five men were aboard the boat when it sank off Vancouver Island early Monday morning

Drive-thru voting in Saanich crashes over environmental concerns

Environmental concerns over climate change could stall drive-thru voting in Saanich. Angila… Continue reading

Most Read