Come To Ottawa, Ruin Your Career: BENN

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Perhaps the reason that the ‘interim’ label on so many positions at city hall lasts so long is because the executive recruitment firms are struggling to find people who are actually qualified and are prepared to move to Ottawa.

Consider this scenario. The city manager of Ottawa has a compensation package in the order of $400K/year. That the second in command of cities of 400,000 to 500,000 people (thinking of the multiple cities that surround Toronto) were reluctant to consider a near doubling of their compensation speaks volumes.

Change the absolute compensation figure for the head of the planning department, or the city clerk, or … but the order of magnitude of increase in compensation is likely to be similar.

A competition that consists of one sub-optimal candidate is not much of a competition.


The common denominator is that viable candidates for senior positions look at Ottawa City Hall as a toxic mess.

It’s a mess that the senior most levels of both the administration and council don’t want to change. Better for a candidate to wait another couple of years for a chance for a promotion, whilst continuing to earn materially less than a move to Ottawa would provide, than to move the family into a disaster zone that has no senior level support for change.

Ron Benn, a finance executive, has been a member of the Centrepointe Community Association for the better part of three decades.

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3 Responses

  1. Andrew Zenner says:

    To be fair to Ottawa, the City of Brampton had two people on the Sunshine list who made a total of $1.5 million last year and both of them were former City Managers who had been fired and were receiving severance. As well, Brampton has had 4 City Managers since 2014. As bad as Ottawa may be, I am sure that there are other cities in Canada that could give Ottawa a run for its money on how to screw up. And like Jim Watson, Patrick Brown keeps getting re-elected as mayor of Brampton despite these screw-ups and constant questions about his integrity.

  2. Ron Benn says:

    Out performing Patrick Brown is not a high bar to cross.

  3. Andrew Zenner says:

    Another thing, Ottawa doesn’t excel in; being the worst.

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