As the year 2017 comes to a close, City Council is engaged closely in the recruitment process for hiring a new city manager.
Earlier this week, Council approved a recruitment strategy that was developed by our search committee with assistance from our interim City Manager Kathy Hopkins. This committee was appointed by City Council and includes myself as well as Councillors Belinda Crowson, Jeff Coffman and Joe Mauro.
A city manager is the one municipal employee who reports directly to City Council and who is ultimately responsible for having the organization carry out the direction set by Council. In a presentation to City Council by the committee, it was noted that choosing a city manager is perhaps the most important decision that local elected officials will make for their community. This is why we've developed a thorough recruitment process that will unfold over the next several months.
This process includes front-end preparation, which includes the development of a city manager position profile that describes the attributes, skills, knowledge and experience we want in our ideal candidate. It also involves developing a framework for compensation including a market survey to help us establish a fair and appropriate salary range.
This is also the stage when City employees, community groups and individual residents will have the opportunity to tell City Council members what qualities they feel are important in our next city manager. This will include an online survey and a special Community Issues Committee session on Jan. 15 at which people can come forward and tell us their thoughts. Written comments can also be submitted to City Council by Jan. 8 through the Office of the City Clerk.
The next steps will involve developing a candidate information package, implementing a search strategy to attract qualified candidates, and managing contacts with candidates. The final stage in the process will involve reviewing applications, selecting which candidates to shortlist for interviews, conducting candidate interviews with the search committee, and then selecting and recommending a preferred candidate to City Council.
Throughout the process, we will engage the help of a recruitment firm and will utilize in-house expertise from our Human Resources department. We are hoping to make our selection by mid-April 2018.
The group overseeing the current transition to a single entity to grow tourism in our city, the board of the Lethbridge Destination Management Organization (LDMO), has been hard at work the past several months. In early January, the board expects to announce the hiring of an executive director who will lead the new organization in marketing Lethbridge as a tourist destination, attracting conventions and events, and collaborate with local organizations and businesses that cater to tourists.
The reality right now is that about 80 per cent of our tourism consists of visitors who come to Lethbridge to visit family members or friends who live here. If you have friends or family in town over the holidays, please take the opportunity to show off our city! Visit attractions such as the stunning the Winter Lights Festival at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Starlight: the New West Theatre's music-comedy revue, and the latest exhibits at the Galt Museum or the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.
A walk in our river valley is a great way to experience our natural beauty, and there are plenty of opportunities to stay active at our local recreation facilities.
The recent announcement that WestJet will be introducing daily flights to Lethbridge is long-awaited positive news for our city and the surrounding region. Having WestJet in addition to Air Canada and Integra Air service to and from Lethbridge will result in more options for flights and better service for residents and businesspeople in southern Alberta.
The Lethbridge Airport is an important economic asset for our region, and the City of Lethbridge continues to work with Lethbridge County in pursuing improvements to the County-owned airport. We're looking for ways to improve the airport facility as well as the flying experience.
There are other positives to look forward to in 2018.
Construction of Metis Trail and the twinning of Whoop-Up Drive are well underway. They will both be complete in 2018 and are already improving connectivity for new residential developments in west Lethbridge.
Next spring, we'll be putting the finishing touches on Legacy Park in north Lethbridge. This major regional park will be an attractive amenity for our entire city as well as surrounding neighbourhoods.
This year, City Council approved a new Area Structure Plan for southeast Lethbridge, and the developer is moving ahead with servicing for construction of new public elementary school scheduled to open east of Fairmont in 2020.
The future is bright in Lethbridge as our city continues to grow!
In closing, on behalf of City Council and everyone at the City of Lethbridge, I want to wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all residents. We are truly blessed to live in a wonderful city. I encourage all those who can do so to support those in our community who are in need through donations of food, toys and other items.
Mayor Chris Spearman
December 15, 2017