Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Sheegl's replacement must have CAO cred
The City of Winnipeg is moving ahead with hiring a chief administrative officer before an election cycle takes over city hall.
The city has been without a permanent leader for its public service since the resignation of Phil Sheegl in October and the subsequent appointment of Deepak Joshi as acting chief administrative officer.
While council voted last fall to begin a search for a new CAO, the lack of movement has been interpreted by some officials as a sign the city would wait for a new mayor and council before the position is filled. Winnipeggers go to the polls in October.
But late last week, ads appeared in the Free Press and Globe & Mail, looking for a CAO to "inspire a shared vision of outstanding service" at the City of Winnipeg.
The ad, placed by Organization Consulting Limited of Toronto, seeks "a proven leader with broad experience, preferably in a municipal or broader public-sector environment."
The successful candidate must also be "skilled in building partnerships internal and external to your organization and know how to work well with elected officials or a board of directors."
The emphasis on public-sector experience is welcome to members of council who were highly critical of Sheegl, who was a friend of Mayor Sam Katz and was valued for his private-sector experience before he joined the city in 2009, initially as planning director.
"That's what we're pushing for," said Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt, who called for Sheegl's dismissal in 2012 and authored a letter that hastened the former CAO's resignation in 2013.
Wyatt will have a say in who becomes the next CAO. The city's hiring committee also includes every member of council's executive policy committee -- Katz, Wyatt and Couns. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert), Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), Grant Nordman (St. Charles), Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) and Brian Mayes (St. Vital) -- plus two members appointed by council, Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) and Ross Eadie (Mynarski).
First, the consulting firm will present a list of applicants who respond to its advertisement. The idea is to have a CAO in place "as soon as possible," said Brad Salyn, Katz's chief of staff.
The language in the CAO-position advertisement was created solely by the consulting firm conducting the search, Salyn said.
But the emphasis is clear: The city wants its next CAO to have experience as a CAO.
"Council wanted us to cast a fairly wide net of applicants and certainly (find) someone with CAO experience," Salyn said.
The last city CAO search, initiated after the departure of Glen Laubenstein in 2010, yielded a short-list that included the CAOs of two Canadian cities with populations of more than 175,000, two high-ranking RCMP officials and internal candidates such as Sheegl, who was a deputy chief administrative officer before he was promoted.
Sheegl did not possess the experience required for the position he obtained in 2011, the specifications of the job posting and his resumé at the time show.
Katz has maintained he played no role in that hire, but Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck said Katz lobbied other members of executive policy committee on Sheegl's behalf.
Internal candidates may be considered as well. Joshi is not expected to apply, as Wyatt informed council last fall the acting CAO had promised not to seek the job on a full-time basis.
What interview question would you ask the CAO candidates? Join the conversation in the comments below.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 2, 2014 B1
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