City of Nanaimo now looking for an interim CAO

A job opening for an interim chief administrative officer was posted on the city’s website this week

The City of Nanaimo is looking for an interim chief administrator.

A new job opening for an interim chief administrative officer was posted on the city’s website this week.

Tracy Samra, the city’s CAO, has been on paid leave since the end of January and is the subject of a peace bond application after allegedly making threats.

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said in the CAO’s absence, her duties have been shared amongst members of the city’s “senior leadership group.” They notified city council Thursday that they would prefer that the city seek an interim CAO.

“Essentially they wanted to get back to their job duties. It was intended for a short term and they felt it was best for council to initiate a call for an interim CAO during our current CAO’s absence,” McKay said.

He said the additional CAO duties were putting pressure on senior management.

“Having somebody in that position that can manage all of the activities of our senior staff and departments certainly makes a lot of sense,” McKay said.

Coun. Bill Yoachim told the News Bulletin last week that council needed to move forward.

“We have to discuss the situation with the appropriate person in charge so we can get a time frame,” he said. “In fairness to the city, in fairness to council, in fairness to staff, we need some ballpark time frames so we can do some planning.”

He said decisions need to be made because the city and council cannot remain in its current situation forever.

“Right now our hands are tied,” he said. “But it can’t go on forever … we’ve got to make some decisions on what we are going to do in the interim and long-term.”

McKay said he believes an administrator who is experienced in civic government in B.C. should be able to get up to speed “within a very short time.”

The mayor said time frames of employment for an interim CAO are unknown.

“We can’t say whether it could extend into the next term of the next council,” he said.

The job posting for interim CAO on the city’s website describes the position as “the nexus between the city council and the civic administrative staff and … responsible for the efficient and effective management of the organization. The chief administrative officer provides advice and recommendations to council on all aspects of city policy and operations, and is responsible for carrying out the objectives set by council and for coordinating and directing the activities of all city departments.”

The job closing date is April 23. The city’s legal counsel is taking the applications, with assistance from the city’s human resources department. City council will determine how the short-listing, interviewing and hiring process work.

Before being named CAO in March 2016, Samra had been hired as interim CAO in November 2015.

-with files from Nicholas Pescod/The News Bulletin

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