Red Deer’s new city manager has helped streamline the policies surrounding her new job.
Tara Lodewyk formally started the position in July after a nation-wide search was launched after the unexpected retirement of Allan Seabrooke in May 2021. Lodewyk had been interim city manager since that time.
Lodewyk said various changes proposed, including creating a new city manager and designated officers bylaw, amending an organization bylaw and appealing land acquisition and sales, and Freedom of Information Protection Act are part of an effort to provide leadership and clarity going forward.
Since the city manager is seen as city council’s only employee, most municipalities are creating city manager bylaws in place of more generic organization bylaws, city legal and legislative services manager Michelle Baer told council on Monday.
The changes put all of the information related to the city manager’s role in one place “removing the risk of inconsistency or repetition in various documents.”
The city manager’s duties and responsibilities are little changed under the reorganization. Some new responsibilities established under the Municipal Government Act have been added and other clarifications made. The new bylaw also establishes the city manager can take certain emergency actions — such as ensuring a roof on a city facility in danger of collapse is dealt with — without having to wait for an emergency to be formally declared.
Some of the city manager’s financial powers have been adjusted, including the authority to settle insured claims, which is the responsibility of insurers.
The authority to authorize budget adjustments up to $10 million from one budgeted program to another has been eliminated, a limit that was considered “exceptionally high” and conflicted with the capital budget policy that authorizes the city manager to approve budget adjustments only up to $50,000.
“It is recommended that budget adjustments continue to be addressed solely in budget policy,” says Baer in a report to council.
The authority the city manager has with regards to agreements about burial plots was also tweaked to provide more flexibility.
Council unanimously approved all of the changes.