Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Importance Of Employee Probation Periods

A Period To Assess Skills and Qualities Before Long Term Commitment

It is not uncommon for new employees to be subject to a probationary period of perhaps three months to see if the new employee will be a good fit for the organization. This gives employers the opportunity to assess the skills and qualities the employee possesses without engaging in a long term commitment, which can be costly.

Sadly, there seems to be no similar mechanism for those chosen to run the affairs of perhaps the largest corporation in the City of Nanaimo. Having to engage the services of a facilitator at a cost of possibly $100,000 should raise some questions about the skills and qualities being demonstrated by our elected CEO who has now had nine months to demonstrate an ability to do the job.

According to the Community Charter:

Responsibilities of mayor
(1) The mayor is the head and chief executive officer of the municipality.

(2) In addition to the mayor's responsibilities as a member of council, the mayor has the following responsibilities:

(a) to provide leadership to the council, including by recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures that, in the mayor's opinion, may assist the peace, order and good government of the municipality;

b) to communicate information to the council;

(c) to preside at council meetings when in attendance;

(d) to provide, on behalf of the council, general direction to municipal officers respecting implementation of municipal policies, programs and other directions of the council;

(e) to establish standing committees in accordance with section 141;

(f) to suspend municipal officers and employees in accordance with section 151;

(g) to reflect the will of council and to carry out other duties on behalf of the council;

(h) to carry out other duties assigned under this or any other Act.


This Mayor and City Council has now had nine months to settle into their roles as directors, plotting a course to lead Nanaimo into the next decade, defining some clear goals and guidelines in an effort to see we are creating a Nanaimo that is affordable and sustainable.

So far all they have accomplished was to approve a 6% CUPE wage increase which means that exempt staff will also see a wage increase of the same magnitude over the same period. They are barely any closer to conducting a Core Review than they were six months ago and with the way they are approaching some big budget items, the review may be little more than another farcical, costly report.

There was a motion by council they would neither increase nor decrease service levels until after the Core Review had been complete. The intent of course is to finally get a handle on the number of tax dollars the community can actually afford and how those funds should be allocated. A core review was a common mantra of some members of the previous council, including the three that used to be referred to as the Three Amigos.

Now, we have the Mayor making noises to the effect that perhaps hiring more police, and building a new firehall and hiring 20 more firefighters may be possible before completing the core review! Really? That is what he has been suggesting.

This coming Monday, staff is trying to put the automated garbage trucks on the fast track. It being a multi-million dollar decision, which has all the earmarks of being another hasty decision dealing with our garbage which led to the current problems we are having with poorly planned split packer trucks. There are lots of questions that need answering before we rush headlong into a multi-million dollar decision. If council approves this purchase before the core review is complete, they might as well put the core review paper onto cardboard cores and install them in the city hall bathrooms.



  1. jim.. thanks for doing the work you do on your blog and informing anyone interested in to know about what is happening in nanaimo.. i really appreciate it and this post is no different then all the others which provide valuable insight into the activities at city hall and with our elected members. - james

  2. In your second paragraph at the top, last line should read - "inability" to do the job.

  3. I am happy to thank Jim for doing a very worthwhile and necessary job with his Blog: Thank you, please keep on keeping on.

  4. Our mayor is in way over his head.

  5. It seems the voters of Nanaimo made some major errors in electing this council. Councilors are, in effect, hired by taxpayers to oversee the operation of a multi-million dollar corporation. Now it seems some are simply not up to the job and are bogged down in personal animosities. That being the case I would urge those involved to resign and allow people more capable to take over their positions. Despite the cost of replacing them it would be worth it and would once again allow the city to continue to move forward.


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