Prince George city hall implements department shuffle

·3 min read

Trying to make sense of the shakeup at city hall?

It's a bit of a puzzle, but a comparison of the old and new organizational charts - aided by a memo from acting city manager Walter Babicz that was leaked to CKPG - provides a certain amount of clarity.

In essence, one half of a department has been scrapped and another has taken on a significantly bigger workload under a COVID-induced revamping at city hall.

At its centre, the infrastructure and services department is being eliminated and replaced, in part, with a new civic operations department that will take on five divisions largely related to the public works side of its predecessor: transportation and technical services, project delivery (previously named infrastructure delivery), parks and solid waste, roads and fleet, and utilities.

With the move, the old department's general manager, Dave Dyer, has gone into retirement and public works director Gina Layte Liston and infrastructure services director Adam Homes are no longer on the payroll.

In turn, the planning and development department has been renamed the planning, development and infrastructure services department and has taken on two divisions previously under infrastructure and services - asset management and infrastructure and planning and engineering.

As well, Babicz said in the memo that the environmental services division, previously part of infrastructure and services, has been reduced and split between civic operations through its utilities division, and the development services division within the planning, development and infrastructure services department.

The bylaw services division, meanwhile, has been moved to the community services and public safety department from planning, development and infrastructure services department, while the financial services department has taken on the financial management functions for both the community services and public safety department and the old infrastructure services department.

In an email, city spokesperson Mike Kellett confirmed that in addition to their roles as acting city manager and acting deputy city manager, Babicz and Ian Wells will continue as the heads, respectively, of the administrative services and planning, development, and infrastructure services departments.

Blake McIntosh, who has been manager of the roads and fleet division, is acting director of the civic operations department, while Kris Dalio remains head of finance, Adam Davey head of community services and public safety and Rae Ann Emery head of human resources, now known as human resources and corporate safety.

And strategic Initiatives and partnerships, which is led by Chris Bone, now reports to Wells in planning, development, and infrastructure services.

Babicz has said the changes were made to reduce costs in the face of a major hit to revenue due to the pandemic. He has declined to say publicly who has lost their jobs as a result but in an emailed statement to the Citizen early this month, he did say six management and four unionized positions were eliminated. One of the management positions was to be refilled and one of the unionized jobs was vacant prior to the changes.

Exactly how much savings they will deliver will be known as part of a bigger presentation staff will make to council's finance and audit committee meeting on December 7 at city hall.

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen