Council goes its own way on organizational review recommendation

CAO Debbie Oyarzun

by Tristan Turner

Council has decided to delay endorsing Administration’s recommendation that the town seek the consulting services of Keldar Leadership’s Darel Baker to develop a CAO-Council Relationship Framework. The goal, identified in last year’s organizational review, was to “create clearer expectations in the individual roles which contribute to fostering a respectful and effective relationship between Town Council and the [CAO].”

Although Council were generally in support of the aims of the project, many expressed disappointment that an implementation component was not included in the current overview of the Relationship Framework project.

Councillor Gord Putnam expressed his concern the proposal was more document than implementation. “We talked about a coaching aspect for this project. I don’t see it here,” he said. “Because I know we can talk to many different people that have expertise in this area of municipal relations… at the bottom of all of this I don’t want it to be lost that we want a solid relationship [between Council and the CAO]. So sometimes what I’m seeing with some of the consultants that we’ve used is that they are very business-like, and that’s fine… but I think a coaching aspect is what’s needed and I think that’s what we talked about.”

Putnam also stated he felt Council and the CAO had “problems” in the area of CAO-Council relations, and that he felt real coaching was his ideal solution.

Deputy Mayor Turner echoed Councillor Putnam’s comments.

“We want a better relationship, not a document,” Turner said, adding coaching would be a way of achieving that.
CAO Debbie Oyarzun told Council a coaching element was not discussed in Council’s previous public meetings regarding implementing the organizational review recommendation but noted coaching could be added to the project easily.
Oyarzun also mentioned Keldar Leadership has engaged in similar coaching and organizational training in the past, so it may be something they could accomplish with the Town if Council agrees to award them the contract.
The contract is valued at $3,937 and comes from $25,000 Council approved in the 2015 budget to implement elements and recommendations from the organizational review.

Council did not accept the CAO’s recommendation to hire Keldar. Instead they opted to strike a new committee responsible for overlooking the project and debating additional components, including coaching, and the steps forward with selecting and awarding the contract. Deputy Mayor Barry Turner, Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald and Councillor Rob Ladouceur are the chosen members of the committee.

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