Top City of Edmonton manager who oversaw delayed LRT line derailed

The man who has held the City of Edmonton’s top civic post for the past five years has been fired.

EDMONTON — The man who has held the City of Edmonton’s top civic post for the past five years has been fired.

Mayor Don Iveson announced at a hastily called news conference Thursday that Simon Farbrother has been relieved of his duties.

Iveson says no one issue was behind the dismissal, but council was unanimous in opting to replace him.

The city is contractually obligated to pay Farbrother two years of salary plus benefits, which amount to $800,000.

Farbrother recently took responsibility for the long-delayed start of the city’s Metro light-rail transit line that runs to MacEwan University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

A city auditor’s report revealed a lack of communication played a major role in the delay.

Farbrother was hired in 2010 after serving as city manager for Waterloo, Ont., from 2005 to 2009 and Spruce Grove, west of Edmonton, between 1997 and 2005.

He played a major role in negotiating a plan for Edmonton’s new downtown arena.

Iveson said the top bureaucrat has done a lot of good work for the city, but the scale and complexity of the challenges ahead demand a fresh perspective.

“A decision of this magnitude was not made without careful deliberation and discussion among council members, but in the end we determined that change is necessary, and that it must happen now.”

The mayor said work to find a new city manager will start soon.

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