The City of Nanaimo has dismissed one of its senior managers.
Brad McRae, Nanaimo’s chief operations officer, was relieved of his duties following a special council meeting on Wednesday. As an officer with the city, McRae was allowed to have a hearing in front of city councillors regarding any changes to his employment status and could not be dismissed without at least two-thirds majority vote by councillors, according to the community charter.
Tracy Samra, the city’s chief administrative officer, confirmed that the decision regarding McRae’s employment status was made yesterday, but became effective today.
“He has been on leave and now he is no longer with us,” Samra told the News Bulletin, adding that she could not elaborate on why McRae was dismissed due to privacy reasons.
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McRae, who had been on medical leave since late November, was hired as the city’s chief operations officer in October 2016 after being lured away from the District of Lantzville, where he spent one year as chief administrative officer. Last year, McRae became in charge of public safety, following a series of restructuring decisions by the city.
Samra explained that McRae’s position was adjusted last September to remove public works and engineering responsibilities from his portfolio.
“Essentially his portfolio was public safety and I didn’t rename his title to director of public safety, I kept it as COO,” she said.
Samra said every decision she makes about staffing is done so in an objective manner and on the basis of what’s best for the city.
Coun. Jerry Hong said he couldn’t comment on McRae’s dismissal, explaining that McRae isn’t an employee of council.
“This is a human resources issue,” he said. “The only employee that council has discretion or authority over is our CAO.”
Hong said because of the way the community charter works, officers, such as McRae, have the right to come before council on issues related to termination.
“If Ms. Samra’s recommendation is to terminate, we as council, will support that,” he said. “If the choices were wrong then it is council’s job to deal with Ms. Samra.”
Karen Fry, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief, will take on the role of director of public safety, according to Samra, who said she will make a good fit.
“I think she might stay on in this role,” Samra said. “She’s got really great leadership skills and training, so I am hopeful that she will stay on in that position.”
McRae declined to comment.