New city manager wants Ottawa on ‘solid financial footing’

It was only his second day on the job, but Ottawa’s new city manager already had his eyes on next year’s budget.

Steve Kanellakos said he wants to tackle the city’s financial challenges, citing the massive $42-million deficit last year.

“I need to make sure going into the next two years of council that we’re on solid financial footing,” he said, after his first finance and economic development committee on Tuesday.

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Mr. Kanellakos has returned home after a short stint as the city manager in Vaughan, Ont. Before that, he worked under Ottawa’s former top bureaucrat, Kent Kirkpatrick, for 15 years.

For the past month, he has been coming in on weekends to meet with staff, and learn more about hot-button files like the second phase of light rail and LeBreton Flats.

He also wants to better communicate with staff. Over several days in June, he’s planning on bringing together all 1,500 city supervisors and 500 managers to brief them on how he has noticed the city is run. But he wants to hear from them, too.

“They’re looking for visible leadership,” he said.

Late last year, Mr. Kirkpatrick announced he would not extend his contract due to health reasons.

This article originally appeared on on May 3.

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