Second senior manager resigns from Lantzville staff

NANAIMO – Lantzville has seen two senior staff members resign in less than a month.

A second senior manager has resigned from the District of Lantzville.

Lantzville’s director of finance Jedha Holmes handed in her resignation last Monday after more than six years with the district. She is the second senior manager to quit in less than a month, following chief administrative officer Twyla Graff.

The decision also comes at a time when councillors are hiring consultants to help establish a code of conduct and investigate a memo written by five senior managers about concerns of decorum and tone at council meetings. Holmes is set to leave May 15, and while no councillors could tell the News Bulletin why she quit, they shared their reactions and opinions on the resignation and next steps.

Coun. Graham Savage said when two senior management positions resign out of a team of five, “it’s got to be seen as pretty serious,” and added that the district has to get into the mode of hiring.

Coun. Rod Negrave called the resignation unfortunate but not unexpected with the staff memo laying things out very well. He hopes there won’t be any more resignations and said there needs to be a better way for council to relate to senior staff.

“We have policies in place now and standards of conduct. If people choose not to follow them and there’s no way to enforce them, it’s difficult to see how doing anything else is going to help until people make that fundamental decision to change.

“Maybe a facilitator will help,” said Negrave, about council’s recent decision to hire consultants. “We have to give it a good try at this point.”

Coun. John Coulson said he has looked at staff turnover in a nine-year period, not including the CAO, and there was a “56-per cent chance” there would be two turnovers this year. Like any organization, people come and go and it’s always unfortunate when they do, he said, adding that he has not been informed of the reasons for Holmes’ departure.

Mayor Colin Haime said Holmes was a pleasure to work with and he respects the decision of both Holmes and Graff to move on. Council has already started to talk about replacement of the CAO and could look at hiring an interim financial officer until the new top bureaucrat has a chance to define and designate the director of finance position.

Haime added that council is committed to reviewing concerns of management and CUPE staff.

Holmes is a three-quarter-time employee, hired in December 2008.

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