Nanaimo plucks Lantzville's CAO to fill new role at city hall

By Dominic Abassi
September 2, 2016 - 12:42am

An overview of the organization released on June 23

The new structure at Nanaimo city hall, released September 1

NANAIMO — The city of Nanaimo didn't have to look far to fill a newly created role at city hall.

CAO Tracy Samra says the city has hired Brad McRae to fill the role of chief operations officer.
McRae spent the last year as the CAO for the district of Lantzville.

The move is the latest change to the organization at Nanaimo city hall, and was not part of the original restructure that was unveiled in late June by Samra.

She says at the time she briefed council on four or five different models and this particular direction was most popular among senior staff with the city.

That's why the original changes were described as being done in a phased approach and offered flexibility to react to all of the departures at city hall, according to Samra.

The new COO position will be a compliment to the chief financial officer role taken on by former director of finance Victor Mema in late June and will be answering to the CAO.

Samra says McRae will be focusing on integrating operations that overlap departments, like asset and facilities management.

"Key things that will allow the city to function and formalize what we're doing informally. Integration of our operations so that we're more efficient and effective and focus our resources on service delivery to the community," says Samra.

McRae, who served as the CAO for Lillooet prior to moving to the top job in Lantzville, will handle several portfolios right away.

According to a diagram in a city news release, McRae will be overseeing engineering and public works, fire and emergency management and facilities.

The engineering role is included because Samra says the decision was made not to replace the director of engineering, a position vacated by Geoff Goodall when he took a job with Ladysmith in July.

When the original restructure was unveiled in June, only four director roles remained under Samra and the CFO -- engineering was one of them.

Director of human resources, John Van Horne, said last week a candidate had pulled out of the job late in the process and the department was being reviewed again.

Now there will be just three directors, with Samra saying she will continue to have Dale Lindsay and Richard Harding report to her.

Samra says McRae's approach to teamwork and leadership is the exact fit Nanaimo needs right now.

The CAO wouldn't disclose how much McRae will be paid.

A city release says he will begin his work with the city in early October.

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