District of Sechelt looking for two new department heads

The District of Sechelt is losing two key staff members.

Director of planning and development Tracy Corbett will be stepping down at the end of June and director of finance Doug Stewart will leave his post in early July.

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Corbett took the reins as director of planning and development in January of 2018, bringing more than 25 years’ experience in university, municipal and regional government settings, including posts in Airdrie, Alta., Victoria, Calgary, Kelowna and Toronto.

Stewart has been director of finance since April 2016. A certified public and general accountant, Stewart came to Sechelt after nearly a decade as assistant finance director for the City of Kamloops. He also worked with the City of Port Moody.

Mayor Darnelda Siegers told Coast Reporter this week that the timing of Corbett’s and Stewart’s departures is coincidental.

According to Siegers, the district knew when Corbett was hired in early 2018 that she would not be staying long after coming out of retirement to take the job and working long hours to get major bylaw revisions prepared before moving on. 

Stewart, Siegers said, is headed to the Lower Mainland to be closer to family.

Siegers also said the district is in a better position to move forward thanks to the work Corbett and Stewart put into building their departments.

“Both of these senior members of the team have come in and helped us put the district on a stable foundation,” she said. “This is the first time that we’ve had a full planning department… We’ve got some good people in there. Finance is solid, nobody’s out on maternity leave nor positions empty. Whoever comes in is going to be stepping into a good position.”

Previous mayors have faced questions from critics after senior staff departures, and Siegers will likely face similar questions.

“Our reputation has improved over the last while so I don’t see any issue with getting good, qualified senior staff here,” she said.

Both jobs have now been posted by the district, and Siegers said there are no plans to bring in an outside recruiting firm to help find suitable candidates, a strategy the district has used in the past.

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