The story behind how Tim Commisso got to become the City Manager of Burlington.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 19th, 2019



The first working day in July Tim Commisso will walk into city hall maybe wearing a new tie or a new pair of shoes to show that this is a new opportunity that he has taken on.

News anal BLUELast night at the Ward 2 community meeting where Councillor Lisa Kearns used an hour to tell some of her constituents more than they will ever want to know about developments in downtown Burlington she also mentioned that in the search for a new city manager there were 70 resumes sent in; 30 of which got a close second look and six of those that were interviewed.

Tim Commisso was one of the 70 and one of the 30 and one of the six.

Another one of the six was invited back for a second interview.

Tim got the nod.

At the city Council meeting on Monday Tim was given an opportunity at the end of the meeting to say a few words and made mention of a phone call he got from Marianne Meed Ward to have a cup of coffee.

He said that he had no idea she was going to discuss his coming in as the Interim Manager.

Meed Ward was not an elected official when Tim was one of the General Managers with the city.

He left Burlington in 2008 – Meed Ward was first elected in 2010.

However Meed Ward was a very active citizen and she would have been very aware of the kind of work Commisso had done when he was a General Manager.

Meed Ward had decided that she would end the contract the city had with James Ridge; she may have already decided that she would approach Commisso.

Those with senior positions in the municipal world talk to each other. One Gazette contact said he had a conversation with Tim who is reported to have said he wasn’t sure if he was going to seek the job – but our contact added “he didn’t say he wasn’t going to seek the job”.

During the Kearns’ Ward 2 meeting Tuesday evening one constituent said that “at least Commisso knows where all the bones are buried”, to which another person added: “He may have buried many of those bones”.

The Gazette reported earlier that the decision to hire Commisso was not unanimous – we were misled on that matter. It appears that the decision to hire Commisso was unanimous.

Come July 1st Tim Commisso is the City Manager. During his remarks to council he said he hoped to be with the city for the duration of the five year contract.

Burlington has had difficulty keeping city managers.

The city now has a man who knows the organization, is respected and appreciated by many and is working with a Mayor who sought him out.

Meed Ward tried hard to work with James Ridge, she tried harder to develop a strong working relationship with Mary Lou Tanner when she was appointed Director of Planning. She wasn’t able to get the traction she needed with either.

Tim Commisso now has the responsibility of developing the team that is going to get Burlington through some of the very rough water ahead of us.

Good luck to both the Mayor and the City Manager.

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