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Brain drain continues with CAO, more top administrators leaving

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Troy Shantz & George Mathewson

Three more of Sarnia’s most senior municipal administrators are leaving City Hall, including CAO Margaret Misek-Evans.

Misek-Evans, the city’s top non-elected official since 2013, will be leaving at a still to be determined date.

She terminated her agreement with the previous city council and negotiated a severance

Margaret Misek-Evans

package prior to the new council being sworn in Dec. 1.

The details are to be reviewed by the new council at a closed-door meeting on Dec. 17.

Finance Director Lisa Armstrong submitted her resignation on Dec. 13. She has been with the city the past three years.

Armstrong has agreed to help the new council through budget deliberations in January, with her final day on Feb. 22.

City solicitor Scott McEachran resigned on Dec. 3 and plans to return to private practice. His final day is Jan 8 after 12 years with the city.

The departures continue an exodus of professional administrators linked to what Sarnia integrity commissioner Robert Swayze has called an “incredibly bad” workplace environment at City Hall, which he blamed on Mayor Mike Bradley.

It began in December of 2015 with the resignation of former city clerk Nancy Wright-Laking, followed in January 2016 by the resignation of former planning director Jane Cooper.

Swayze described the two women in a June 2016 report as competent managers who left because of the mayor’s abusive behaviour toward senior staff. He also predicted additional departures if the mayor didn’t change.

Former parks and recreation director Beth Gignac left in August of 2016 and Misek-Evans has stayed until now.

The CAO grew up on a farm in Brooke-Alvinston, has a Master’s degree in planning and development, and came to Sarnia from Victoria, where she was working for the regional government.

As the only employee of city council, the CAO’s job is to work closely with the mayor and council.

Misek-Evans and Bradley do not communicate, and during the turmoil of the previous council she hired her own legal representation.


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