Thursday, July 22, 2021

After eight years of service in Prince Rupert, City Manager Robert Long prepares to bid his adieu

Mayor Lee Brain and City Manager
Robert Long in Ottawa in 2015

(photo from Mayor Brain's FB page)
A significant announcement from City Hall coming from the pages of Mayor Lee Brain's Facebook page, with the Mayor announcing that after 40 years of municipal service in local government, eight of them as City Manager in Prince Rupert, Doctor Robert Long will be retiring, the date effective December 31st.

In a lengthy tribute, the Mayor recounted his own personal relationship with Mr. Long, including some family connections and their shared work together since Mr. Brain was elected to the Mayor's office seven years ago.

"Bob and I have been working closely together for the past 7 years, and we have not only developed a great working relationship, but a strong friendship as well. 

The relationship between a CAO and Mayor is by far one of the most important dynamics of any City, as it is where the intersect between governance and administration meet. A healthy working relationship between these two bodies generally translates into better community outcomes and successes. 

Some of you know this, but many of you may not know that Bob was born and raised here in Prince Rupert - in fact his uncle and my grandpa played basketball together here in the 1930s, and his father was also the City Manager for Prince Rupert in the 1960s. After a long and storied career, it is fitting that Bob came back to our City as the final chapter of his life as a CAO."

The mayor's review of those seven years includes notes on much of Mr. Long's work with Watson Island, CityWest and the efforts towards rebuilding the local infrastructure. 

As well the social media post includes a look at the work that the Mayor, Mr. Long and the team at City hall have taken on to rebuild the community over the years.

"From his arrival in the City Bob has been a passionate, and at times ferocious, advocate for Prince Rupert and our community - sometimes ruffling feathers - but always focused on what needed to be done. His commitment to life-long learning has also contributed to the City and has motivated staff as well."

Not mentioned as part of the piece from Mayor Brain however, is the creation of and the vast resources available through the Legacy Incorporated accounts, which came during Mr. Long's time and which has been used to create much of that success, the Legacy Fund was introduced during the previous administration of Jack Mussalem.  

It has become the instrument for much of the city's financial efforts since 2015 and came out of the city's boundary expansion to include land known as Lot 444 across from Seal Cove, at the time in hopes of development of an LNG Terminal at that location. 

As that plan evolved,  Esso/Exxon/Mobil provided for the bulk of the initial legacy monies of eighteen million dollars, prior to their decision to abandon their development plans in December of 2018.

The remembrances of the last seven years do include a look at the scale of leadership that the City Manager brought to the position, as well as a recap of some of the other stops on his travels through municipal government.

The Full salute and best wished for retirement can be reviewed here. Mr. Brain's notes area also serving as a community Best Wishes card as many add comments to wish the City Manager the best.

Curiously, the advisory from the City as to Mr. Long's pending retirement has not as of yet been relayed through the City of Prince Rupert Website, or the City's Social Media feed, making it an exclusive to the Mayor's Social media stream and his followers.

Also missing from the list of his many accomplishments while with the City of Prince Rupert was the awarding of his Phd from Antioch University, with the City Manager making use of his work and the Mayor/CAO dynamic in Prince Rupert towards his dissertation. 

While today's announcement makes it official, there may have been an inadvertent slip of the news back in June, when Councillor Barry Cunningham made a few comments that indicated change was coming

Though at the time the city's Corporate Administrator noted that while confusing, the comments were related more to the City Manager's Summer vacation plans. 

Making Mr. Cunningham's themes perhaps a trial run for future announcements.

The Mayor observes as a final note in his presentation on social media, that the City will be putting out a job posting for a New CAO, with hopes to have one hired before the end of 2021.

The post should be one which attracts candidates from within the upper ranks of the city's own staff and staff succession has always been a key priority for the City's administration in recent years. 

Though the opportunity to take the reins of an organization in a community that is putting forward the themes of major growth ahead would surely attract a range of out of town talent as well.

More notes on City Council themes can be reviewed from our archive page here.

1 comment:

  1. At the end of the day, hats off to Dr.Bob.

    Four decades in civic politics is admirable given some of the personalities that reside in City Halls across this province.

    Rupert was as close to being broken when he arrived.

    Since his arrival, has it been the bright lights, big city progress we were looking for, no.
    Has it been the steady as she goes progress we needed, yes.

    I just hope his replacement is hired efficiently, understands the requirements of the position and how municipalities should work.

    Especially one like Prince Rupert.