Oak Bay has two new faces among its staff, one in a new role and one filling a void left by a longtime staff retirement.
Both Debbie Carter, director of financial services, and Vicki Gannon, manager human resources, call it a homecoming.
“I’m so proud to have these ladies work here,” said Helen Koning, chief administrative officer for Oak Bay. “They are both consummate professionals, highly regarded in the places they worked, and they chose Oak Bay.”
Gannon, a graduate of the first Commerce program at the University of Victoria, also sees it as coming home. She’s been on staff at Oak Bay for several months, after more than two years at Broadmead Care Society, but before that was with the City of Vancouver for more than 15 years. In Oak Bay she provides human resources and labour relations advice, recruitment and compensation.
“When I lived in Vancouver I went for work and education. I’ve always loved the Island and I’m happy to be back,” Gannon said.
Gannon sees a massive difference between Oak Bay and Vancouver – here departments are constantly interconnected.
“Oak Bay is a great municipality. I love that you get to see the whole community,” Gannon said. “I really like the size, the work is just as busy but here you get to work with everyone.”
Gannon’s new role has been a busy one, including recruitment for the handful of recent retirements.
“There’s lots of change which is exciting,” she said.
Much experience remains at municipal hall with the longest serving staffer still on the job at 35 years.
“That speaks volumes,” said Carter, whose predecessor Patricia Walker had three decades with the district. Walker, Carter said, is setting her up for success in their brief overlap.
“I have a great respect for Patricia, she leaves some big shoes to fill. My goal is that I continue to provide that level of service and expertise.”
January onward is a busy season as number crunchers everywhere work toward budget deadlines. Locally it culminates with budget discussions during a series of what Oak Bay calls Estimates meetings.
“I’m hitting the ground running for sure,” Carter said.
Carter grew up in the Victoria region but most recently came from Alberta where she worked the last six years with the province as executive director of corporate finance and senior finance officer. Before that she worked for the municipality of Leduc, Alta.
“I’m really glad to be working for Oak Bay,” Carter said. “First impressions are important and my first impression has been very positive. Council and staff are capable, confident and passionate about what they do.”