Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Town of Aurora CAO Leaving A Huge Void? Time for Change Perhaps

Over the course of the past few months it has not been an exciting time for the Town of Aurora. Definitely, business retention has been an issue. A couple of weeks ago, after operating for decades in the Town of Aurora, one of our successful and high-profile businesses in Town, Magna International, located off Wellington Street (actually located on Stronach Blvd, probably a private road), announced they will be leaving the Town. I am not particularly surprised though, since they seemed to have reached their peak in Aurora.  It appears that they plan to move to King Township where their future growth would be better accommodated. Magna International plans to expand by approximately 200 employees on their new campus, and I expect it to be a prestigious one too. Darn, I keep wishing we had more businesses planning future growth here in Aurora to balance out against the residential growth.

Other notable news was with Target stores. Former Target Canada was like a spontaneous combustion in our Town. That’s old news now. Note some good news though. A new Canadian Tire store is planning to move into the former Target store location on Bayview Ave, potentially putting the Canadian Tire store on Yonge Street in jeopardy. However, I am hearing a lot of great reactions and excitement among friends and residents on the East side of Aurora; they seem to be ready to welcome the new Canadian Tire on Bayview Ave.

“Successful leaders leave corporations successfully operating after their departure, there should never be a ‘huge void’ left.”

Interestingly enough, the Walmart store doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon; and I really don’t have a comment for the former State Farm head office located nearby. I am though waiting patiently for a surprise from them sometime down the road since I’ve already received changes to my automobile and home owner policy. The former ING Direct, now Scotiabank’s Tangarine, was not a local Town business but I am sure it had a lot of Aurora residents as clients. It would be a shame if the new ‘Orange’ bank broke away from it’s roots and planned to implement more bank fees.  Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking! That perhaps this is just one of Anna’s ranting posts; a business retention ranting marathon.  Well, I will conclude with a remark: “I miss you ACI (Aurora Cable Internet).”

Business retention was not supposed to be my rant topic for today; rather, the Town’s people retention was. And I am not talking about all the residents selling off their houses on Golf Links due to the new Highland Gate Golf site residential development. I’m referring to news recently published, quoting here The Auroran, “Mr. Garbe’s resignation was confirmed to The Auroran by several sources, including councillors, on Tuesday afternoon, who noted his departure would leave a “huge void” at Town Hall.” To elaborate, Mr. Garbe is currently the Town of Aurora CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) until his departure in June 2015 when he will become the CAO for the Town of Richmond Hill.

Is that an issue? In my opinion, it’s not an issue. It’s a temporary disturbance for the Town employees and Town Council, but I’m sure they will survive and I’m sure it’s a position that can be easily filled once the work is done to find a qualified successor. But wouldn’t it be great if that successor was already identified within the Town’s organization and already groomed and trained to take over the role after a predetermined number of years. Then the cycle could continue.  That is something called succession planning, an important strategy for successful businesses.  Perhaps it’s time for the Town of Aurora to investigate having one as well. Otherwise, we are likely to continue to have ‘huge voids‘ to fill in the future.

For the time being, a good measure of success for the Town of Aurora CAO will be to see how the Town operates when he departs. Successful leaders leave corporations successfully operating after their departure, there should never be a ‘huge void’left. A successful leader also leaves a successor, a next leader, behind. Perhaps the ‘huge void‘ refers to just that. Oops! Remember, successful corporations have a succession planning process in place.

Now about filling that ‘huge void‘ in the near future. My wishful thinking is that the new Aurora CAO is from the Town of Aurora, and if that is not possible, at least from York Region. You know what I mean, a local person who lives in Town. I hope that the new Aurora CAO will manage and lead the Town of Aurora corporation successfully to the next level (not sure what that is yet) and at the same time will act in the best interest of the Town of Aurora community. I guess we will just have to wait and find out.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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