A fourth senior staff person is leaving the District of Sechelt since council took office last November.
Chief financial officer (CFO) Andrea DeBucy tendered her resignation on Nov. 23. Under her contract, she must give 45 days notice of her departure, making her official last day Jan. 7, 2013.
Sechelt let go chief administrative officer (CAO) Rob Bremner in March, followed by their corporate officer JoAnne Frank in May. Manager of sustainability and special projects Emanuel Machado left the District in September to take the vacant CAO position at the Town of Gibsons.
DeBucy would not give a reason for her resignation, which signals the end of a long career in public service.
“I’ve had a very fulfilling career as a public servant and I really mean that. I’ve enjoyed it for 33 years and I’m going to retire from that now unless something else comes up. It’s quite possible, but right now I don’t have anything particular in mind,” she said.
DeBucy was a provincial government agent for 13 years with Service B.C. and spent 10 years working as an accountant and assistant administrator in hospital settings. She also worked for six years with school districts and held her position at the District of Sechelt for four years.
Upon news of her resignation Nov. 23, three councillors sent messages saying she would be missed.
“You have been vigilant at holding our feet to the fire, giving clear, concise and complete financial reports to council. I will miss your commitment and strong work ethic. The role you have taken here in Sechelt will be difficult to fill,” said Coun. Alice Lutes.
Councillors Mike Shanks and Tom Lamb also sent messages to DeBucy.
“This is yet another sad day for Sechelt, but I am not surprised,” Shanks wrote. “Thank you for the contributions you have made to the financial well being of our municipality over the last four years in dealing with our financial issues.”
Mayor John Henderson said DeBucy’s decision was “entirely fine,” but that he’s “never happy to see someone leave.”
The District plans to use a headhunter to find someone to fill the position and Henderson hopes to have a new CFO named soon.
Headhunters were used to try to fill the positions left vacant by Bremner and Frank, with limited success, he said.
Through that process, Bremner was ultimately replaced with Randy Stoyko, chief of innovation and growth, and a temporary replacement was found for Frank in interim corporate officer Gerry van der Wolf.
Henderson said the District is still trying to find a permanent person for the corporate officer position; however, they don’t plan to hire another manager of sustainability and special projects.
To date the District has paid $50,176 in headhunters’ fees to the firm Western Management Consultants.
Interim chief administration officer Rick Beauchamp was also paid $57,158 to help out the District from April 3 to July 5. Henderson said van der Wolf makes about $75 an hour, which is a bit more than a full-time person would make, “because we don’t pay benefits, we don’t pay pensions. He has to take care of his own taxes and all that kind of stuff.”
The high turnover and needed expenditures to keep the District running are “not uncommon in the municipal world” according to Henderson.
“We got elected as council to do a number of things, and I think one of the key ones was to strengthen and deepen the capabilities of our team. So when you have that focus and that objective, inevitably there will be changes in manpower,” Henderson said, noting the District found a good fit in Stoyko. “So it’s a challenge, but it’s also a real opportunity when these sort of situations occur, and that’s what we’re taking this to be with Andrea’s departure.”
DeBucy said although news of her retirement comes around the same time Lutes was ousted from her committee appointments, the timing is only “coincidental.”