Following an extensive, nation-wide search for a city manager, Prince George City Council has selected Walter Babicz as the new City Manager for the City of Prince George.
Babicz was appointed acting city manager when former city manager Kathleen Soltis and council reached a ‘mutual agreement’ in September, 2021. Her departure came as details were emerging on the escalating costs of the downtown parkade project.
The city manager is the chief administrative officer and accountable for the operation of all municipal services. The position oversees a staff of approximately 750 exempt and unionized employees with a total annual budget of approximately $185 million. Babicz has been fulfilling both the duties of acting city manager as well as those of his existing position as general manager of administrative services for the past nine months. Since that time he has made some major changes to city operations involving the laying off of several senior managers.
“On behalf of Council, I wish to congratulate Mr. Babicz on his selection for the critical role of City Manager, and to thank him for his many years of excellent service to the City of Prince George as the Corporate Officer and as a senior administrator,” said Lyn Hall, Mayor of Prince George. “The fact that Council selected Walt as City Manager, Council’s sole employee, speaks to the respect we all have for his years of service and the appreciation we have for his performance as Acting City Manager over the past nine months.”
Babicz was raised in Fraser Lake. After graduating law school from the University of Victoria, he moved to Prince George in 1995 to practice law at a local law firm until he was offered a position as the City’s Manager of Legislative Services in 2008. He has taught several courses at UNBC related to law and local government, including Law, Governance, and Ethics as part of UNBC’s MBA program.
Babicz has served as the corporate officer of the City of Prince George since 2008. His broad portfolio has included overseeing divisions such as legislative services, records management, information technology services, procurement, risk management, bylaw services and the customer service centre. Since Council appointed him to the role of Acting City Manager, Babicz has already implemented several important new initiatives, including:
- Reorganizing and streamlining the City’s organizational structure
- Adapting Council meeting processes to comply with evolving Covid-19 Public Health Orders
- Amending the Exempt Employee Overtime procedure
- Increasing the frequency of major capital project updates to City Council
- Proposing and implementing a Council-approved reduction in the City Manager’s delegated authority for budget amendments
“I’m honoured and excited to be selected as the new city manager and to be continuing to serve the community that I care so deeply about,” said Babicz. “I look forward to working collaboratively with council, city staff, and the community.”
Council hired JB Consultants Inc. to search for a new city manager.