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

West Shore RCMP catch thieves in the act in Colwood

Thieves were trying to steal a utility trailer from the driveway of a home

Premier asks for re-do on Highway 14 study

A study on Highway 14 improvement has been delayed for a second… Continue reading

Recent calls prompt warning from Langford Fire Rescue

Heating sources are one of the leading causes of house fires

Santa’s Light parade glides through town on Saturday

Vancouver Island’s most popular Christmas parade is back for its 36th year

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Running back propels Spectrum Thunder into first Subway Bowl final

Brandon Robbins scores hat trick of touchdowns

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Most Read