Resignations are mounting at City Hall—but no one wants to talk about it.
The city's administrative office won’t say how many staff members—if any—remain at the municipal planning department after intermediate planner Mallory Smith left her job last Thursday. Her departure comes shortly after ThoroldToday reported that senior planner Paul Klassen had also exited City Hall.
After receiving a tip last week, ThoroldToday asked the office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to confirm Smith's departure. Carrie Groulx, an assistant to the CAO, replied with the same pre-written statement the city issued after Klassen's exit.
“Our planning department is continuing to function efficiently under our Acting Director of Planning & Development Services," the email says.
However, at yesterday's meeting of the city’s Committee of Adjustment, clerk Angela Nesbitt confirmed that Smith had left her job last week, leaving the department—which is responsible for reviewing upcoming developments and the official policy on how Thorold’s land should be used—severely understaffed.
“It means I have no planning staff, I have no manager, no senior planner or intermediate planner,” Nesbitt told the members.
Instead, the city has retained consulting firm MHBC to fill its planning role until more employees can be hired. ThoroldToday asked what the current situation means for the city, and how much money Thorold taxpayers are paying the consulting firm. The CAO's office chose to ignore the questions.
A number of senior staff have left their city jobs in recent months. In April, Denise Landry, longtime manager of planning, left the department, just a month after deputy clerk Joanne Hyde. They were followed out the door by Klassen and now Smith.
Here are the specific questions from ThoroldToday that the city will not answer:
* I'm told that intermediate planner Mallory Smith worked her last day on Friday, and that Jason Simpson now is the interim acting director of planning, can you confirm?
* How many planners now remain hired at the city - if any?
* The planning dept. has hired consultants MHBC to fulfill the work until you are able to hire new planners. What is the cost of this, and how long are you anticipating this contract to be active for?
* What is the reason for the departures from the planning department at the city, and how do you intend to remedy it?
* What does the current situation mean for the city?
If the city provides more information, ThoroldToday will update readers.