Mayor Appoints New Chief of Staff

By Bob Robertson
Published August 05, 2008

A reorganization to provide the Mayor with assistance in the form of a new Chief of Staff is welcome news.

The Mayor's post in Hamilton is increasingly complicated and engaging a political policy adviser is most important and appropriate.

However, it is also important to ensure the incumbent understands their role.

First, the incumbent is an "employee" of the City and can contractually bind the City. As a result, he/she must understand the legal framework within which the City operates and be aware of city policies with regards to contracts and hiring requirements.

In recent years, there have been examples of contracts being "sole-sourced" to companies and individuals by the Chief of Staff in the Mayor's office. Also, there has been an example of hiring the Mayor's campaign manager to a City contract without competition.

Again, a former Chief of Staff was an advocate for this contract. Both of these are simply examples of recent actions which were clearly contradictory to existing City policies.

Second, the incumbent must understand the role of the City Manager and the Corporate Management Team. It is not helpful to have the Chief of Staff provide direction to municipal staff at any level of the organization.

In contrast to the political advice provided to the Mayor from advisers in his office, the senior municipal managers must provide apolitical advice to all of the Council.

In the event that senior managers feel threatened in performing their duties advice to council simply becomes "non-controversial" or "politically correct". Given the nature of the problems facing Hamilton this type of limited advice is at best inappropriate.

Finally, given the importance of the post in the general operation of the City guidelines (a job description) for the post must be developed and it must be clear that the position will be within the oversight of the Ethics Commissioner.

Bob Robertson, Ph.D. is a consultant and professor of international business. He was the City Manager for the City of Hamilton from 2002 to 2004.


View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2008 at 09:59:59

Sounds more like Mayor Fred is shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic or "restructuring" his office "Enron" style.

As Fred found out late in the game, you can't have two right hands, but you can have two left feet while dancing around the politics of Hamilton.

Meanwhile, we are facing a $7 million dollar deficit due to faulty predictions of staff and a local council who failed to verify the numbers they produced.

That's Hamilton, get used to it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Wiser (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2008 at 14:41:31

Isn't this Robertson guy the fellow who was fired from 2 City Managers jobs? One even before he showed up for work?

Permalink | Context

By city manager (anonymous) | Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:45:17 in reply to Comment 26208

Yes--one in the same.
Fired by a mayor in Hamilton convicted of Municipal Act violations. The same mayor who hired his campaign manager to a cushy $65000; and, who hired a "transition" consulting firm. To date no one knows what the contract cost let along what it was about.
Also, compensated for the other incident as a "wrongful" dismissal.
The joys of local politics!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Why, sir? (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2008 at 15:12:16

I don't know about anywhere else but he got terminated from Hamilton because he made the mistake to point out Red Hill was costing the city more money than it could afford and that's a line nobody on staff is allowed to cross. Also the cost of unfunded payouts to terminated employees. Like the payout to, um, him.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By another capitalist (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2008 at 10:02:23

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

There are no upcoming events right now.
Why not post one?

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools