SAINT JOHN – City Manager Jeff Trail resigned Friday, saying his job was rewarding but he needed to be with his family fulltime in Fredericton.
“My time at the City has been rewarding, but now seems to be the right time for me and my family to establish our home base in Fredericton,” said Trail in a press release.
“I’m proud of the City of Saint John’s accomplishments and the colleagues and residents I’ve worked with over the past three years. Saint John has great potential and I’m confident in the leadership and the great team I’m leaving behind to continue to grow this city.”
Saint John Mayor Don Darling says he was surprised to receive Trail’s resignation letter Friday morning. But he knows that Trail spends his weeks in Saint John and returns to his family in Fredericton on the weekends, so he understands why he would resign to be with them fulltime.
Family must always come first, said Darling in a phone interview with Huddle Friday afternoon.
“Home base has got to be Fredericton for him and his family, and I respect that immensely,” said Darling.
Darling says Trail did a great job bringing more organizational and financial discipline to the city’s operations. He credits him with “big-impact” initiatives like negotiating the Canaport LNG tax repeal, establishing Develop Saint John, launching the City’s Roadmap for Smart Growth and negotiating the $22-million interim funding agreement from the Province of New Brunswick.
“I have a tremendous amount of gratitude,” said Darling. “Jeff and I have worked very closely and I’m an all-in mayor. I’m here more than fulltime. That often involves interacting multiple times a day with Jeff. I think he’s done what I would expect of any senior leader. He’s leaving the organization in better shape than when he arrived.”
Trail, who became City Manager three years ago, will remain on the job until the end of August to ensure an orderly transition and minimal disruption to city business. Over the coming weeks, the mayor and council will begin a process to identify a new City Manager.
Darling says Trail will be missed, but it will be business as usual for the city because a “legacy” of Trail’s tenure is a strong team of senior leaders.
“He has really increased the bench strength,” said Darling. “Our senior team of leaders is incredibly competent and I know they’ll wake up on Tuesday morning, pull out our work plan and keep driving the objectives of the city.”