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Burlington Council Approves New Organizational Design at City

Burlington City Hall.
Burlington City Hall.

Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont.— Sept. 24, 2019 — Burlington City Council approved a new organizational design that will position the City to meet its strategic goals over the balance of this term of Council and beyond. Since beginning his appointment as City Manager in July 2019, Tim Commisso, along with Human Resources Director Laura Boyd, have been meeting with staff to get their input into the organization redesign recommended to Council.

This new organizational design, effective today (Tuesday, Sept. 24), puts more emphasis on strategic management, risk assessment and public accountability; while also positioning us well to attract and retain employees in a growing and competitive marketplace. The new structure will also enhance and highlight the City’s attention to City-wide customer service and public engagement through business process improvements, corporate-wide training and ongoing transformations such as digital service delivery.

Further, these changes better enable staff to implement City Council’s four-year work plan titled “Vision to Focus.” An update on Council’s work plan will be shared in the near future.

“First and foremost, I want to thank City of Burlington staff at all levels for their continued hard work. Our new structure ensures that we are structurally organized to accomplish the important work we need to do as public servants. City of Burlington staff have always been resilient in the face of change and are dedicated to meeting the needs of residents. I would also like to thank Council for supporting the need to redesign and move our organization forward to better support our community.” — City Manager Tim Commisso

Highlights of the organizational design changes include:

  • The new org design has been approved by Council within the current staff complement, no additional staff positions were added;
  • Overall, we are moving forward with an organizational structure led by Executive Directors that will be responsible for providing ongoing leadership and strategic management to the following:
    • “Service Groups” comprised of the City’s community-focused operational departments. The two “Service Groups,” Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services and Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility, also align more closely with the focus areas in Council’s 4-year Work Plan;
    • “Corporate Strategic Support” functions including Finance, Legal, Human Resources and Information Technology; and
    • City Manager Office realigned functions focusing on the corporate priorities of strategy, risk, City-wide customer service and public engagement; this realignment also responds to a Council direction given to the City Manager in February 2019 to review and realign the functions of the City Manager’s Office;
  • Allan Magi has been appointed Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services. The Roads, Parks & Forestry, Recreation Services, Fire and Capital Works departments will now report to Allan;
  • Heather MacDonald has been appointed Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility with the Transportation Services, Transit, Community Planning and Building departments now reporting to Heather;
  • A new position of Customer Experience Manager-Business Development has been created in the City Manager’s Office and will play a key role in the implementation of the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet recommendations including working directly with Burlington Economic Development Corporation to provide enhanced support to businesses looking to grow and bring new jobs to Burlington;
  • A new position of Executive Director of Strategy, Risk and Accountability has been created in the City Manager’s Office and will lead the strategic planning/management, business performance and enterprise risk functions for the organization and ensure the implementation of the many initiatives and actions included in Council’s 4-Year Work Plan; and
  • With the change to an Executive Director structure, the City has also transitioned away from the Deputy City Manager model; as a result of the redesign, Mary Lou Tanner is no longer with the City. The City of Burlington thanks Mary Lou for her leadership and service to Burlington and wishes her all the best in the future.

Click the link for a chart that lays out the new organizational design for City of Burlington staff and departments: City_of_Burlington_Org_Chart_-_Sept_24_2019.


The new organizational structure will ensure we’re focused on meeting our commitments to residents in the Vision to Focus four-year work plan, including a renewed focus on customer service, by aligning the corporation to our goals. We will also now receive regular progress reports on Vision to Focus through the new Strategy, Risk and Accountability team and regular oversight and reporting on our two biggest risks — climate change and cyber security. Given our recent experience with cyber security fraud, we have learned we are not immune to this type of risk and this will better position us to protect our community.  The changes will also position us to hit the ground running on implementing the recommendations from the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force.

This is a significant transformation of our city, and it positions us well to ensure service groups and the City Manager’s Office are focused meeting the needs of our residents and businesses, delivering services in a more coordinated and efficient manner and managing our risk.

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