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CVRD fine tuned as five managers depart

logo-cowichan-news-leader2By PETER RUSLAND
Cowichan News Leader, April 23, 2014

Five recent departures from the CVRD will be filled with four new hirings in a fine-tuned regional government, interim CAO Frank Raimondo explained.

Cowichan's recycling and waste boss Bob McDonald is the latest to go. His departure was confirmed last week, making him the fifth CVRD senior staffer to part ways with the Cowichan Valley Regional District in the past two months.

While Raimondo declined to comment about the circumstances of McDonald's departure — or that of former CAO Warren Jones and water management chief Dave Leitch — he basically viewed those vacancies as chances to streamline management and operations.

"We didn't set out to shrink the size of the organization. We had some vacancies as a result of retirements and some discharges," he said. "I thought, based on the experiences of the board, there were better ways of achieving our ends.

"The board didn't ask me to do anything to any particular individual," he said, citing some wasted internal efforts. "Sometimes it looked like we were repeating ourselves three times over."

To snap that cycle, some duties were reassigned or reorganized within — for example, in environmental and legislative services, he explained.

January's retirement of parks, recreation and culture boss Ron Austen saw his workload shifted to Island Savings Centre manager John Elzinga.

Austen's post will not be filled. But the CVRD expects to begin advertising in the next two weeks to fill vacancies left by McDonald, Leitch and Jones, plus planning and development manager Tom Anderson, whose planned retirement became official last week.

Raimondo foresaw filling those jobs by the time he leaves his interim role in late August. The pay range could basically stay the same for the four jobs, though Raimondo said he expected further board direction regarding the CAO post.

McDonald, who helped develop Cowichan's successful recycling program, earned about $107,000 in 2012. Leitch earned about $112,000 that year. Details about any severance packages for either man were unknown at deadline.

Jones earned about $200,000 annually. He received a severance package worth about $335,000, CVRD brass has stated.

Anderson made about $150,000 annually.

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