Mount Currie senior administrator let go

'Disagreements' between McGee, council leave band position open

Disagreements between the Mount Currie chief and council and senior administrator Mike McGee have left the band looking for someone new to fill his position.

McGee was informed by the band in early May that his employment had been terminated after just 10 months on the job. Former senior administrator Sheldon Tetreault is in the position for the interim as the band seeks a permanent administrator.

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"Chief and council decided that a change was in order," Chief Lucinda Phillips said in a statement emailed to The Question on Tuesday (July 12). "There were differences in management style and philosophy that were not consistent with the direction of the new council.

"I wish Mr. McGee the best of luck in the future.In the meantime, we are moving forward with an executive search now and should have a person in the position by September.Additionally, council has appointed an interim administrator and we continue to ensure the delivery of essential programs and services to community members."

McGee, who has more than 25 years in First Nations government across five different provinces, said he couldn't go into detail about what the disagreements were due to a confidentiality clause signed with the band.

However, McGee did say that he had a great working relationship with the previous council and chief Leonard Andrew.

McGee said he was "by far the best administrator they ever had and the previous council will vouch for that," and added that he "turned around things beyond what anyone could have done and did some incredible stuff."

Within two months of the March election bringing the current council in, McGee had been let go.

"They elected a whole new council, pretty much," said McGee. "Out of 13, you're looking at (eight) new faces and needless to say, they were pretty green at doing their job.

"You can see the picture where you've got a highly-seasoned, trained professional that knows what to do and how to do it, and then you have a majority government that moves in and pretty much doesn't know. So, there's going to be disagreements.

"Essentially, it came down to disagreements between what the leadership wanted done and what I thought was best for them."

Phillips herself served as interim senior administrator for several months between the end of current Village of Pemberton chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland's tenure on the job and McGee's hiring. Phillips was also Mount Currie's director of land and resources up until she was elected and worked alongside McGee on the band staff for eight months.

"Their vision of what they felt they wanted to do in the next two years was a certain thing and it wasn't along the lines of what I know good management should do," said McGee. "The new group's weakness was that they didn't understand what being on a council was and (they) were acting like a bunch of managers, interfering in numerous ways that were, in my view, unprofessional and certainly inconsistent with the principles of good leadership."

McGee said he was both shocked and disappointed to learn that he had been relieved of his duties and that others in the band office shared those sentiments.

"Half of them were in tears and couldn't understand," he said. "They made, in my view, a huge mistake by tossing out one of the top band administrators in Canada."

McGee said he has found employment as a senior administrator with a band elsewhere in B.C. but would not say which one.

The band's call for applications to succeed McGee officially closed on Monday (July 11).

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