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Metro Vancouver hires City of Vancouver’s chief engineer

Jerry Dobrovolny leaves this fall for his new position as CAO for the regional district
Jerry Dobrovolny
The news of Jerry Dobrovolny's departure comes as the City of Vancouver embarks on significant initiatives, including the Broadway Plan, the Broadway subway project and the city-wide plan. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Jerry Dobrovolny, one of the City of Vancouver’s longtime senior managers, is leaving his position for a job with Metro Vancouver.

Dobrovolny has been named Metro Vancouver Regional District’s new chief administrative officer and commissioner, effective Nov. 2.

The news of his departure comes as the City of Vancouver embarks on significant initiatives, including the Broadway Plan, the Broadway subway project and the city-wide plan.

Dobrovolny’s new job involves reporting to the 40 elected officials who make up Metro Vancouver’s board of directors, and leading 1,500 employees, according to a July 26 Metro Vancouver news release announcing the hire, which came after a six-month long search to fill the role.

“After a robust executive recruiting process, Jerry clearly demonstrated that he is uniquely capable of effectively managing a complex array of essential public utilities and services for more than 2.5 million people in the region, while juggling competing demands with ease and enthusiasm,” Metro Vancouver board chair Sav Dhaliwal stated in the release.

Dobrovolny was quoted as saying he was “elated” to accept the position, which he described as both an “awesome responsibility and opportunity to help shape the future” of the region.

He’s worked for the City of Vancouver for 30 years, the last four as chief engineer and general manager of the engineering department, but he also served as director of transportation, manager of equipment services and a member of the transport planning project. His first role was as assistant waterworks engineer in 1988.

During his tenure Dobrovolony, who earned $291,851 last year, has been involved in numerous high-profile projects including the Arbutus Greenway, the roll out of the Mobi bike share program and work on Burrard Bridge.

A City of Vancouver news release described Dobrovolny as “instrumental to organization-wide efforts to bring new, talented staff into Engineering fostering a new culture of diversity and inclusion for the department.”

“He leaves behind a legacy of developing leadership within his department which in turn has impacted many cross-city department initiatives, such as the Broadway Subway, Broadway Plan, False Creek, Chinatown, the new St. Paul’s Hospital and many more initiatives,” the release stated.

Dobrovolny also served as a city councillor in New Westminster from 1996 to 2005.

His last day with the City of Vancouver will be Oct. 4.

An interim replacement for Dobrovolny is expected to be announced next week. The city will also be launching an executive search for a permanent city engineer.

The city has recently lost other senior staff as well, including Kaye Krishna. Earlier this year, Krishna left her position as general manager of development services buildings and licensing, after less than three years in the position, to become deputy minister of municipal affairs and housing in Victoria.

Meanwhile, Luke Harrison, the city’s former CEO of the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, took a job with Horizon North Inc. late last year.