Parksville looks inwards to shore up engineering dept.

City won't replace vacant position but will redevelop the department

The City of Parksville isn’t going to hire anyone to replace Robert Harary, the director of engineering who left the city abruptly on June 7.

Instead, said Mayor Chris Burger, the city has opted to reorganize the entire department and increase the responsibilities of two other senior staff.

“We’ve structured it now so that two managers will get additional responsibilities,” Burger said. “Al Metcalf will be director of operations and Vaughn Figueira will become director of engineering.”

Metcalf has more than 30 years’ experience in municipal operations having worked with the cities of Nanaimo, North Vancouver and Port Moody.

Figueira   is a senior civil engineer with more than 20 years’ experience specializing in municipal engineering. The majority of his career has been with regional and municipal governments with significant private industry experience as well.

Figueira joined the City of Vancouver in 1999, assigned to the sewers design branch. As senior engineer, he has had responsibility for planning, budgeting, costing, tendering, management and design. Figueira joined the City of Parksville in January, 2011.

Burger said staff and council made the decision to bump up the responsibilities of the two senior staffers partly because of a difficult labour market for senior staff. As well, he said, the city will hire a junior engineer to provide additional technical capacity to the engineering department.

“This gives us more in-house capacity to take on project and infrastructure work,” Burger said. “That’s important because with the limited number of staff we have we been going to outside engineering firms.”

Burger noted the total tab to taxpayers should be a little lower, as junior engineers get paid less and while the two senior staffers who are having their responsibilities increased will get a bump in pay, the overall total should be slightly lower than it is currently. He was not able to give exact figures however, as the contracts still have to be negotiated.

“In my perspective it’s important we move forward because we have some really big projects coming at us over the next few years, like the water system.”