Sunday, November 3, 2013

Moving Ahead

I was very happy with the announcement that, starting in the new year, Jim Toye will be our new city manager.  I've known Jim for several years, having met him through various municipal government circles, and I believe that he has the right mix of strengths and experience to lead city administration in working well with council.

His resume is impressive, but even more impressive are the positive comments about him that we've heard from both his employers and co-workers.  He's known for being a hard worker, a good team builder, and able to work with a wide variety of people, bringing their skills and abilities together so that the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts.

That attitude is exactly what we were hoping for when we started looking for a new city manager.  We wanted someone who would be able to take direction from council, then motivate the rest of the city staff to carry out this direction, in ways that leave everyone involved feeling appreciated, and part of the solution.  Of course, one guy can't be a miracle maker, but having someone with the goal of building a strong team, and who understands that council sets the direction to be carried out by staff, is a good place to start.

A new city manager is also an effective way of signalling to both staff and Prince Albert residents, that the status quo is no longer in place.  This council has said repeatedly that we want to be seen to be open to new ideas, and willing to try to do things differently, rather than being stuck in the same old patterns, and I believe that Jim will help us as we continue to move in that direction.  I think that he understands that all members of council have good ideas to bring to the table, and that we can be most effective if all viewpoints are considered respectfully before decisions are made.

At the level of city manager, the most important responsibility is being able to motivate staff to work to the best of their abilities, not to micromanage every detail of every project - that's what the individual experts should be allowed to do.  From what I know of Jim,  his people skills are his greatest strength, and I'm looking forward to the new energy and ideas that he'll bring to the city in the new year.

"When I meet successful people, I ask what they attribute their success to.  It's usually the same: persistence, hard work, and hiring good people."  Kiana Tom

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