Paul Johnson has been named Toronto's new city manager, officials said in an announcement made Friday.
Johnson was previously the deputy city manager for community and social services. His promotion makes him the city's top bureaucrat, responsible for departments ranging from transportation to planning to parks.
"It is a privilege to be charged with leading the incredibly talented and hardworking Toronto Public Service to enhance the quality of life for Toronto's residents, particularly in a post-pandemic era," Johnson said in a statement.
"Toronto is a vibrant city, and I look forward to building upon the important work that is already in progress — providing essential services and enhancing the livability of our neighbourhoods."
The news release says Johnson's hire comes after an "an extensive search conducted by a third-party firm," and notes he was "chosen unanimously" from a hiring panel comprised of Mayor John Tory, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, Coun. Stephen Holyday and former Coun. Mike Layton.
However, the appointment was officially done through Tory's new "strong mayor" powers.
Previously, the hiring of a new city manager required a full city council decision — something Coun. Josh Matlow bemoaned the loss of on Twitter.
"My concern is with the fact that this important and powerful role no longer answers to city council but now is effectively an employee of the mayor, who can hire and fire him and other senior staff unilaterally, without the necessary checks and balances," Matlow said.
Matlow said that rather than participating in the selection process, he only learned of the appointment through a press release. He also congratulated Johnson on his appointment, and wished him success.
In a statement, Tory said Johnson was a leader with a proven commitment to service.
"I know he will make a great City Manager for Toronto," Tory said. "He distinguished himself to the hiring panel among a field of outstanding candidates and is truly the right person at the right time to lead the City of Toronto administration."
Before beginning work with the city of Toronto in 2021, Johnson spent 10 years with the City of Hamilton — most recently running Hamilton's emergency operations centre throughout the pandemic.
Tracey Cook had been doing the top job on an interim basis following the departure of Chris Murray in June.