Longtime Parksville boss Fred Manson is retiring.
Manson told council in a closed meeting last week that he will wrap up his distinguished civil service career at the end of this year.
“For me personally it’s a big loss, Fred and I have been working together for the last 13, going on 14 years,” said Mayor Marc Lefebvre.
Manson was hired as director of finance in 1994 and appointed chief administrative officer in July 2004, said Communications Officer Debbie Tardiff.
“Fred tells it as it is,” said Lefebvre who was elected to council in 2002. “There were times I’d say ‘hey how about this’ and he’d say ‘no that’s a harebrained idea,’ and follow up with an explanation as to why.”
“I don’t like yes men and the antithesis of a yes man was Fred Manson,” Lefebvre said adding that Manson provided exactly “the kind of valuable analysis, advice and guidance you need as a council.”
Over the past 21 years Manson served seven mayors and many more councillors.
“When I look back on my thirty five year career in local government, most important to me has been the opportunity to work with such dedicated and talented people, both within our organization and in the community,” said Manson.
“One of the results of Fred’s tenure is that we’re in a position now where we’re probably one of the richest small cities in B.C. in terms of cash on hand,” Lefebvre said. “And we’ve got a long term infrastructure renewal program, which reflects on our quality of life and our standard of living.”
As CAO Manson was in charge of hiring department heads, in which Lefebvre said “Fred’s work ethic, integrity and vision translate to the lower levels of the organization,” leading to “a staff that’s second to none in terms of its expertise and dedication to the work they do.”
Lefebvre also praised Manson’s big picture thinking. “You need somebody to know what the consequences of a decision might be and Fred has always had the long term in mind. We have to be mindful of the fact that we have a couple hundred million dollars of inventory we have to look after and Fred’s been quarterbacking that for quite some time.”
In 2012 Manson received a 25 year long service award from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators, recognizing his dedication to public service and municipal government in a management role.
“It has been an honour to serve Parksville councils and residents,” Manson said. “I have enjoyed my time with the city and the trust and support provided me by council, staff and the community. Together we accomplished many key initiatives for the City of Parksville.”
“I’m gonna miss him, I really am,” said Lefebvre adding that he would say so publicly and thank him on behalf of council at Monday night’s regular council meeting (after press time).
Council is now considering options for his replacement.