Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Walpole Island implements new organizational structure

Walpole Island First Nation has created three new director positions intended to oversee and improve program delivery.

The organization chart was approved by Chief and Council in February 2020 and was fully implemented at the July 9, 2020 Council meeting, Walpole Island First Nation officials said in a press release.

Walpole Island First Nation has a staff of over 400 full-time and part time employees and includes over 40 programs that service a membership of over 5,000, officials say.

“The new organizational structure reflects modern business practices through a management structure designed to be responsive to community needs,” Walpole Island First Nation officials said in a press release.

“Previously the majority of program supervisors reported to the Director of Operations. Under the new structure, senior managers provide support and oversight over three new divisions: Lifelong Learning, Community Development, and Community Well Being.”

The directors of these divisions report to James Jenkins, the Director of Operations, who was hired in January 2020.

“James is a member of Walpole Walpole First Nation and had previously worked for the First Nation in several capacities,” Walpole Island officials say.

“He served as the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Sarnia before assuming his current role. James obtained a Masters in History at the University of Texas-Austin, and he holds a C.M.O designation from the Association of Municipal Clerks, Treasures, and Officers.”

Tracy Brant assumed the position of Director of Community Well Being in March 2020.

Officials say she was hired in 2018 as a Director of Social Services.

As of March she now also oversees health programs.

The Community Well Being division includes Social Services, Ontario Works, Home and Community Care, Community Services, Health Centre, Women’s Shelter, BBK, and Employment and Training.

“Tracy Brant is a passionate Mohawk Turtle clan woman from Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte,” Walpole Island officials say.

“A proud mother of three grown daughters and one grown son as well as a loving Tota to five granddaughters. Tracy has lived and worked on reserve and off as well as in both the public and private sectors as an administrator, teacher and mentor for the last 25 years. She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University. She has grown up in an environment rich in the knowledge of her culture as well as the wider western culture understanding that both are important to thrive in todays world.”

Joe Phillips was hired as Director of Community Development on July 13, 2020.

“He is responsible for hard services (Public Works, Housing, Economic Development, Youth and Recreation, Lands and Membership, Heritage) and protective services (Fire and Resource Protection),” Walpole Island officials say.

“Joe is a member of the Mohawks of Akwesasne and has been working with Indigenous communities in the education, business and governance fields for over 25 years. He currently lives in Wallaceburg and is excited about working with the community members.”

Neil Debassige is filling the role of Director of Lifelong Learning on an interim basis while the First Nation recruits a permanent Director, Walpole Island officials say.

Lifelong Learning encompasses Bkejwanong Children’s Centre, Bkejwanong Kinomaagewgamig, Anishinaabeg Kinomaagewgamig, Secondary Program, Post secondary Program, Adult Learning Centre, and the Bkejwanong Library.

“As part of the new management structure, three additional directors have been implemented through title changes,” officials say.

Robert Wrightman is now the Director of Finance.

Lorrie Guggisburg is now the Director of Human Resources.

Aimee Johnson is now the Director of Governance.

No changes were made to their job duties as part of the organizational review, Walpole Island officials added.

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