Mayor: no crisis in Parksville city hall

City of Parksville’s engineering department is doing fine after top job becomes vacant

Chris Burger

Chris Burger

The City of Parksville can’t give any more detail about why director of engineering and operations, Robert Harary, is no longer with the city.

In a June 11 news release the city said, “Effective June 7, 2012, Mr Robert Harary is no longer employed by the City of Parksville.”

Harary’s arrival was celebrated in March 2011 when he was hired from California to fill one of the top positions which hadn’t been permanently filled in more than two years.

Mayor Chris Burger pointed out that decisions regarding personnel matters are discussed “in-camera,” to protect privacy, and council will rise and report decisions to the public.

He stressed that “we’re not in the same position we were a few years ago,” in reference to a time when the city was short permanent staff in the top three positions in the engineering and operations department.

“Today the department itself is functioning well, there isn’t a crisis here,” he said pointing out they have experienced managers firmly in place for engineering (Vaughn Figueira) and operations (Alan Metcalf).

“What we have to do now, when we have a change in senior staff, we always take changes like this as an opportunity to do a department review,” Burger said indicating they will decide whether to promote from within, do another public search, or even shuffle responsibilities around.

Director of administrative services Debbie Comis told The News last week that council and senior staff will review the department and current situation to see if changes are necessary but she didn’t know the timeline, possibly as soon as a few weeks.

The vacancies were often cited as slowing down development permits and other growth issues in the city.

Before Harary the city was unable to hire a director for that department for more than two years. Chief administrative officer Fred Manson said they received plenty of applications every time they posted the job but didn’t get candidates who met the requirements and would take the job for what they were offering.

He wouldn’t say how much they were offering, but in 2008, the last full year it was in effect, the total budget cost was $104,000 including taxable benefits, which he said was competitive with other municipalities, but definitely not high.

Burger pointed out that the city’s current hiring freeze doesn’t impact filling new vacancies, it only refers to new jobs.


A revolving door

July 2011 – Alan Metcalf hired back from Port Moody as manager of operations (had held the job 2004 to 2009)

– manager of operations Mike Squire, appointed Arrowsmith Water Service program manager

March 2011 – Robert Harary hired

January 2011 – Vaughn Figueira hired as manager of engineering

March 2010 – Ian Radnidge report calls for engineering department hiring as top priority

January 2010 – Alan Metcalf promoted to director of engineering and operations but leaves for Port Moody

March 2010 – consultant Ian Radnidge hired as part time acting director of engineering and operations


early 2009 – director of engineering and operations Gary O’Rourke leaves for another job



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