District of North Saanich Municipal Hall. (Black Press file photo)

District of North Saanich Municipal Hall. (Black Press file photo)

North Saanich faces city hall vacancies

District needs to fill lead administrator, councillor roles

While the District of North Saanich waits to hear news of a by-election after the resignation of a councillor last week, the municipality is also in the midst of hiring a new chief administrative officer.

In October, CAO Rob Buchan announced his retirement after eight years in the role.

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Buchan garnered attention in 2016 when the council of the day compensated him some $26,000 for what previous Mayor Alice Finnall called “his treatment at the hands of the previous municipal council” in 2011.

Current Mayor Geoff Orr said the District is coming to the tail end of the interview process for a new CAO.

“We’re not expecting someone here before Christmas, but generally we’ve talked about early in the new year,” Orr said Wednesday.

Mayor Geoff Orr remains optimistic candidates will step forward for the coming by-election to fill a seat on council. (North Saanich.ca)

On Nov. 22 Coun. Joscelyn Barnard announced her resignation from council just one month after the election.

In a statement, Barnard accused the District of being an unhealthy work environment calling for a third-party audit into “the corporate culture and practices of the District.”

Orr maintains the resignation was a surprise to him and others at the council table and declined to comment on Barnard’s accusations.

In a statement released Nov. 23, Orr said he does “not agree with her characterization of the ‘system’ she experienced as a new councillor.”

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As far as a date for a by-election, Orr said that will be called within 80 days of when council assigns a chief electoral officer, as per Elections BC rules.

Barnard was one of two new councillors who joined a table of six, all acclaimed.

However, Orr said the “dynamics are quite different” than at the time of the Oct. 20 election and remains optimistic that “at least a few candidates” will come forward to run in the by-election.

“Anyone that might have been thinking of [running] last time may revisit that through this process,” he said. “I think we’ll be in good shape.”


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