WATCH: There’s been a major shakeup at Victoria City Hall and it’s going to cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. The city manager, who is being credited with making positive changes, has been let go. Tess van Straaten has the details on that and the pricey severance package.
There's been a major shakeup at Victoria City Hall and it will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On Friday, the City of Victoria announced that the services of city manager Jason Johnson were no longer needed.
A media release said Johnson will "pursue other opportunities" but when questioned about whether he had stepped down or been fired, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told CHEK Johnson was let go.
"Council's happy with the work he's done here," says Helps. "He did what we hired him to do and council decided it's time for a change in the city manager position."
Helps says Johnson was hired as a change agent, to re-vamp how things are run at City Hall.
"He played a critical role in modernizing the city’s financial planning process, creating greater transparency and accountability, transforming the city’s senior leadership team, strengthening the city’s relationship with the development community and overseeing major capital projects."
Helps also credits Johnson with getting the embattled Johnson Street Bridge project back on track.
Deputy city manager Jocelyn Jenkyns, who also filled in when former city manager Gail Stephens stepped down in 2013 during the blue bridge controversy, has been named acting city manager.
CHEK News has learned she's been filling that role since July but officials won't say why, citing privacy reasons.
Taxpayers will now be on the hook for around $270,000 for a year's salary and benefits for the outgoing city manager.
"It's a lot of money," Helps admits. "It's kind of standard compensation when a board makes a change in a senior executive, like we've done, but yes, it is a lot of money for sure."