The District of Sooke is down by three senior managers, and it could be another month before the situation improves.
Former corporate officer Gabryel Joseph quit unexpectedly in late March, while in April chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan took a personal leave of absence for an undisclosed amount of time. Neither instances are related.
It’s certainly makes things interesting, said finance director Brent Blackhall, who picked up Joseph’s and Sullivan’s roles, as well as serving as finance director. The deputy finance director position is vacant.
“It’s a lot of work. I’m pretty much in meetings all day long now. [It] makes it a little challenging to get the actual work done that you need to do as well,” Blackhall said.
The gears are turning, however, as the district is in the process of hiring a new corporate officer, as well as “filling a hole” in the development services side of things. Both positions are expected to be good to go by early July.
Blackhall said that adding a deputy financial officer would be ideal, but added that he’ll look at doing that at a time when that position fits within the budget.
Mayor Maja Tait said she and council recognize that staff power at the moment is limited, which makes it even more important to prioritize the workload.
“[Human resources] issues occur, so you need to be flexible and open, and recognize that everyone is doing their very best,” she said.
“We certainly appreciate Brent and all of the directors and staff who are really pulling in and helping in this time. It just means that some things perhaps are moving a bit slower than we had originally anticipated, but that’s just the way it goes.”
Not knowing yet when Sullivan returns is the big thing, Blackhall said, but for now they’ll just have to keep juggling with what they have.
“In the meantime, everyone just picks up a bit of the slack. So far, I haven’t lost any more hair,” Blackhall laughed.