Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Planning director joins exodus of managers leaving City Hall

Published on

Troy Shantz & George Mathewson
The man who was expected to serve as Sarnia’s acting CAO following the departure of Margaret Misek-Evans isn’t sticking around either.

Alan Shaw, the Director of Planning, Building and Bylaw Enforcement, tendered his resignation this morning. He leaves Feb. 1.

Sarnia’s Human Resources Director, Jim Crawford, confirmed Shaw was slated to fill in for Misek-Evans until a new top administrator can be hired.

Misek-Evan’s final day in the office is Thursday and she is officially done Dec. 31.

Shaw was promoted to the senior role of planning director in 2016 following the resignation of Jane Cooper. Cooper told two separate investigations that she left Sarnia because of harassment and bullying by Mayor Mike Bradley.

Shaw is the seventh senior official to leave City Hall in three years and fourth to announce their departure in recent weeks.

Finance Director Lisa Armstrong submitted her resignation on Dec 13.

“After three years working for the City of Sarnia, I recognize that this political environment is not for me,” she told The Observer.

“Progress and principles are important to me, so I’ve decided to be true to myself and resign.”

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

City Solicitor Scott McEachran submitted his resignation on Dec. 3 and plans to return to private practice. His final day is Jan. 8.

As a result, McEachran will serve as acting CAO until Dec. 31. Shaw will then assume the job until he leaves Feb. 1.

Crawford said the HR department is working on short-term and long-term plans to address the abrupt departures. In coming weeks the remaining staff will cover the vacant positions as needed, he said.

“My job is to ensure staff stays engaged, focus on the job they have to do, and we’ll work through our process to find quality replacements for them,” he said.

Shaw has been the city’s chief building official for almost a decade, and under his leadership has achieved record highs in building permitting and planning applications.

He has accepted a position with the City of Toronto as director of building in North York and deputy chief building official, the city said in a release.

Misek-Evans, Sarnia’s official since 2013, terminated her agreement with the previous council and negotiated a severance package prior to the new council being sworn in Dec. 1.

Following a closed-door meeting of the new council Monday, the city issued a statement saying the two sides had mutually agreed to part ways.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Sarnia and work with tremendously capable people who work hard to progress the city,” Misek-Evans said in the statement.

Margaret Misek-Evans

She did not respond to a request for further comment.

The departures continue an exodus of professional administrators linked to what Sarnia integrity commissioner Robert Swayze called an “incredibly bad” workplace environment at City Hall.

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.

Former parks and recreation director Beth Gignac left in August of 2016, and Misek-Evans had remained until now.

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




More like this