Andrew Garnett becomes chief operations officer as the town eliminated the CAO position. Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Woodstock council approved the elimination of the chief administrative officer position in favour of two new senior management positions as it completes the first phase of significant organizational restructuring. 

The management realignment unanimously approved by council at the Tuesday, June 27 meeting moves former CAO Andrew Garnett to a newly created position as chief operations officer (COO). 

The administrative restructuring also creates a new senior management position called Director of Human Resources and a new administrative position in payroll and accounts payable. 

Following the resolution, Mayor Trina Jones said the restructuring follows the recommendations of an HR consulting company hired by the town to evaluate town management and department staffing needs. 

“As part of this first phase, it was recognized that we need a broader HR Department to help support the directors and management team, as well as the COO going forward,” said Jones.

Jones said Garnett, who did not attend the June 27 meeting, accepted his new role as chief operating officer. 

The mayor stressed Garnett’s absence was related to his long-held plans to attend a James Taylor concert and not related to the resolution. 

Jones explained the town would not hire a new CAO, noting Garnett will continue to hold the leadership role with the organization. 

She said the ongoing staff evaluation aims to ensure efficiency in a positive work environment. 

“As noted in the resolution,” Jones said, “the council is committed to ensuring the staff have the support they need to provide the level of service we set for the community at all levels. We are willing to add additional people where needed while at the same time evaluating existing roles to ensure they are in line with their current job duties and expectations.” 

Jones also announced the transfer of the former Director of HR and Payroll Services, Fallon Lappage, to a newly created employee benefits, health and safety coordinator. 

She described Lappage’s previous role as “too broad and too much for one person to manage feasibly. 

Jones explained Lappage would continue handling many of her previous duties while taking on health and safety-related issues to ensure the town’s workspace complies with all WorkSafeNB levels.

The mayor said the town’s goal is to ensure an improved and more consistent approach to employee health and wellness across the organization. 

“We want to welcome Fallon into that position as it is extremely critical to the whole organization,” she said.  

Jones said the town wants to fill the new HR director to possess “a long history and high level of HR Management skills.”

She said the new director must develop solid policies and procedures throughout the organization to help foster a service-focused environment. 

Jones said the HR director would provide day-to-day support for the COO.

“This will help the COO and provide a dedicated resource where we have determined one is critically needed,” she said. 

Jones said Garnett would no longer oversee the development and planning department,

“We will be evaluating how to move forward with the Development and Planning department,” she said.  

Jones said the announced changes are only the first of many as the town evaluates the organization to ensure efficient services.

“So the COO and HR Director will be evaluating service levels across the organization, and the council will be working with the full senior management team to set service levels moving forward,” she said. 

The mayor said more staffing decisions would follow, but smart hiring requires a careful evaluation of what level of services the town must meet and how best to meet it. 

“We know that some of our directors are wearing a lot of hats and need assistance in many places,” she said. 

Jones praised the cooperation of management and staff during the evaluation phase. 

“We appreciate how open our senior staff have been throughout the process thus far, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as we navigate through the next phases,” she said.

By Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 30, 2023 at 20:53

This item reprinted with permission from   River Valley Sun   Woodstock, New Brunswick
Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated