Lantzville’s top bureaucrat lured to Nanaimo as new operations officer

NANAIMO – Brad McRae will be the City of Nanaimo’s first chief operations officer, beginning the first week of October.

Lantzville’s chief administrative officer Brad McRae will step down to take a high-ranking administration job at the City of Nanaimo.

McRae will be the City of Nanaimo’s first chief operations officer, beginning the first week of October.

The City of Nanaimo has been undergoing organizational changes, including shuffled responsibilities and creation of new jobs, since last June, which it has said is aimed at supporting rollout of core services review recommendations.

A chief operations officer is considered part of that change and will replace the director of engineering and public works position, left vacant after the resignation of Geoff Goodall earlier this year, and will include oversight of departments like public works, fire and emergency management, and facilities.

McRae, who was appointed by Nanaimo chief administrative officer Tracy Samra, will be one of the highest-ranking administrators at city hall, alongside the chief financial officer, an organizational chart shows, and Samra said the wage and benefits will be comparable to the chief financial officer position.

The City of Nanaimo has not released the salary of the new COO.

According to Samra, there’s never been a competition for the most senior levels of the city. She appointed McRae because she thought he best met the city’s needs and demonstrated  “exceptional leadership skills” and requirements.

“One of the functions of CAO is to put together a management team that’s of strong performers, who are not only knowledgable in their professional areas of expertise but who have also demonstrated exceptional skills as team players and as organizational leaders,” she said. “In my opinion, Brad McRae absolutely exceeds this requirement and he is local, he’s from Nanaimo, he’s knowledgeable about the complex issues that are in this area and has demonstrated himself to be a good team worker and leader in our CAO forum.”

As the COO, McRae will be in charge of implementing core service review recommendations, including the integration of city operations in areas like facilities.

The new transition for McRae means Lantzville will be on the hunt for a new top bureaucrat. McRae became CAO for the District of Lantzville a year ago. It was his second town management position, previously having served as the top administrator for the District of Lillooet.

Lantzville Coun. Will Geselbracht said council has given the go-ahead to start looking for a new CAO.

“It’s all good. When you are a rising star you get picked off by the bigger fish and unfortunately we’re on the small end of the food chain and Nanaimo is on the bigger end,” he said. “They can offer a lot more money and from what I read about Nanaimo, they probably need him down there.”

Geselbracht said he knows McRae will do a tremendous job at the City of Nanaimo.

“We all wished Brad the best,” he said.

Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime and McRae could not be reached for comment.