City’s chief administrative officer tenders his ‘unexpected’ resignation

CAO Doug Allin had been with the city for seven years, starting in 2012.
CAO Doug Allin had been with the city for seven years, starting in 2012.

One of the city’s top bureaucrats is leaving his post this month, but it is not an expected departure.

On Feb. 27 the City of Grand Forks announced that chief administrative officer Doug Allin had tendered his resignation from his position, effective March 24.

The move came with no prior warning or fanfare in previous city council meetings or correspondence and leaves a sudden hole at the top of the municipal government structure, with no chance for overlap and training with an incoming CAO.

Communications director with the City of Grand Forks, Cavan Gates, could not give any insight into the nature of Allin’s sudden exit.

“No reason was released for his departure,” he said. “It was not expected.”

Allin had been with the city for seven years, starting in 2012, and subsequently moved over to the chief administrative officer position in 2015.

In early 2015 Allin was fired, paid a $192,000 severance — made up of cash and a benefits package — then re-hired as the city’s CAO. Allin had been with the city for just over two years at the time, but was let go when a new mayor was elected.

But when the city was hiring for the position, out of the 40 applications received Allin was deemed the best candidate.

When asked if Allin had moved on to another position, or if he would be staying in the city, Gates replied it was “unknown at this time.”

However, it is possible Allin has been hired by the township of Spallumcheen as administrator, but it has not been confirmed.

“I would like to thank the council and staff for their hard work and dedication over the last several years,” Allin said in a statement on the city’s website.

“It has been a pleasure to serve the community and be a part of the development of the organization.”

So the city is left without one of its top administrators at a time when budget deliberations are winding down and the final pieces of the 2017-2021 Financial Plan Bylaw are waiting to become legislation.

Although much of the work to bring the multi-level budget to this stage has been taking shape over the last few months — starting in late fall and in earnest in January — it still has to be brought into port and filed with the province later this spring, a job normally tackled by a CAO.

“The budget process started in January and continues according to the schedule detailed then,” said Gates.

He noted the link on the city’s website  was still the plan the municipal government was sticking to in the wake of Allin’s departure.

Late last month council reviewed and finalized its tax and utility rates, and planned to move into a committee-of-the-whole meeting on March 13 to introduce the 2017-2021 Financial Plan Bylaw.

That piece of legislation will be followed by the first to third readings of the bylaw on March 27 in a regular council meeting, and the introduction of the Tax Rates Bylaw for 2017 in a committee-of-the-whole meeting on April 10.

That same meeting will see the adoption of the financial plan.

The bylaw for tax rates will see first to third readings on April 24 with adoption at a special meeting in early May. The deadline to adopt the 2017-2021 Financial Plan Bylaw and Tax Rates Bylaw is May 15, 2017.

What the future of the CAO position will be, or what the plan is in the interim at the city until one is hired, is yet to be revealed.

“Council will announce their decision once it has been finalized,” Gates said about the vacant chief administrative officer position.

“The city will not speculate on the future but, as of the moment, it is business as usual.”

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