Managing the city
Beth James has an impressive resume.
The new city manager, while without experience managing a city, does come with plenty of high-level management experience.
She has held a number of positions with the government in B.C., including assistant deputy minister and head of the Capital Planning Secretariat, president and CEO of Shared Services B.C., assistant deputy minister of revenue solutions, and assistant deputy minister for Small Business and Revenue.
James has managed social programs as assistant deputy minister for Children and Family Development and assistant deputy minister of Regional Operations in the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance.
That experience will be put to the test in her new role in Prince George.
According to the press release announcing her appointment the “goals for the new manager include achieving objectives set out in MyPG, deliver on council’s commitment that the city provide a high level of service as an efficient organization that provides excellent customer service while ensuring value for money, ensure opportunities exist for public participation on civic issues, and work with community stakeholders to develop new opportunities for the benefit of Prince George.”
In real terms, her first task will be to continue to stickhandle through the core services review. She was in government when Gordon Campbell initiated a core services review, so she at least knows what they look like from an employee’s perspective.
She will also have to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the Haldi Road decision, which looks like it will be heading back to a courtroom. Coun. Brian Skakun has won the right to appeal his conviction under Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy laws, so that will likely be back in court.
The city has managed to escape, so far, the scandal over the Wood Innovation and Design Centre. That could easily change, and in a hurry. She may have to wade into that quagmire as well.
Then there is the ongoing challenges of finding more money to pave the roads, fix crumbling infrastructure, ensure there is enough in the budget for snow removal, deal with the contract talks for city workers, etc. etc.
In other words, it’s not an easy job.
The city conducted an extensive search and hiring process and James’ name rose to the top. Council was unanimous in picking James as the person for the job.
She has an opportunity to make a difference and help Prince George.
Welcome to Prince George and we wish James success in her new role because if she is successful, the city will benefit.