Two-days shy of exactly 14-months after the announcement of his hire, Guelph Transit GM Mike Spicer has announced that he will be leaving not just the City of Guelph, but the Province of Ontario.
A terse announcement from the City this morning revealed that Spicer has taken a position on the east coast as the Halifax Regional Municipality's Manager of Transit Operations effective February 2. “Mike brought new ideas and a fresh outlook to Guelph Transit,” said Colleen Clack, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Services. “This is a great opportunity for Mike and we wish him well.”
You may recall that Spicer himself arrived in Guelph under cloud after the outright firing of his predecessor Phil Meagher. At the time, Clack said that "In order to move forward with some of our key initiatives we needed to make that change in leadership," and that meant Meagher had to go. Spicer, it seemed, was the leadership at Transit that the City both needed and wanted, and for a time it was good.
Spicer will be remembered in Guelph for his ambitious realignment and schedule changes to the Transit system, which have not been without hiccups. One wonders if the pressure of public frustration and council blame-seeking might have gotten to Spicer. More than that though, one wonders what will become of these changes to Transit when a new general manager is brought in.
When Spicer's hire was announced on November 17, 2016, Clack said, “Senior management’s vision for Guelph Transit remains consistent: the reliable, efficient delivery of public transit to the Guelph community; and we know Mike will continue to build on that vision here at the City,” but scuttlebutt says that there's been a difference of opinion lately on what that vision is. Spicer, it seems, was banking on seeing more money in the budget, or perhaps more support from the City, but it never came.
In the meantime, as Transit begins the year on shaky footing, things are bound to get shakier without an established and committed leader at the helm as the City moves on to its fourth GM of Transit in less than 10 years.