North Cowichan wants to clarify its policies for hiring, firing and disciplining its employees.
In a closed meeting on March 21, council directed its Chief Administrative Officer Ted Swabey and the municipal solicitor to draft a revised delegation-of-authority bylaw for council’s consideration that outlines the CAO’s authority for personnel administration.
That authority includes appointing, promoting, disciplining, and dismissing North Cowichan’s employees, and other delegated authority as deemed appropriate.
Mayor Jon Lefebure said council has been interested in making the bylaw clearer for some time.
He said the Community Charter states that municipal councils can only be involved in the firing and hiring of its corporate officers, including the CAO and the chief financial officer.
“Normally, local governments have only one employee, the CAO, and everyone else works for the CAO,” Lefebure said.
“The CAO controls hiring, firing and disciplining of staff with no involvement of council. Council felt the bylaw needed to be better spelled out and that’s why we’ve asked for a revised bylaw. It’s just routine housekeeping.”
Lefebure said the motion for a revised bylaw has nothing to do with the recent departures of two of North Cowichan’s managers.
Dave Devana was CAO of North Cowichan for more than seven years before his sudden departure in March, 2017, and Scott Mack, who had been director of development services in the municipality also for seven years, left his position in March, 2018.
No explanation was given for the departures of the two men at the time, and North Cowichan officials said they couldn’t provide any further information as they were personnel matters that couldn’t be discussed in public.
“This motion does not pertain to any individual or event that has taken place in North Cowichan,” Lefebure said.
“We have a new CAO who has more than 25 years experience working with municipal governments, so we decided to take advantage of his fresh perspective on the issue,” he said.