Former Hamilton staffer returning in January as new City Manager


Published December 4, 2023 at 3:47 pm

Marnie Cluckie
Incoming Hamilton City Manager Marnie Cluckie

Niagara-on-the-Lakes’s loss is Hamilton’s gain after Marnie Cluckie was appointed City Manager of the steel city today.

The appointment of Cluckie, who has been the Chief Administrative Officer for the Niagara tourist town since December 2020, takes effect January 15.

Cluckie, who worked for the City of Hamilton from 2005 to 2015 in a variety of roles, including Manager, Strategic Planning & Capital Delivery, got the job after what Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath said was an extensive search for an “inspiring and experienced leader.”

Horwath said she wanted someone in the role who knew Hamilton and is “passionate” about its success.

“I want someone who understands the positive role government can play in people’s lives and who is effective and experienced in inspiring operational excellence and innovation,” Horwath said. “Marnie brings all of that and more to this role, and I’m looking forward to working with her.”

Cluckie led several “transformative initiatives” in her three years at Niagara-on-the-Lake, including service modernization, a redesigned budget process and a customer-centric organizational restructuring, which resulted in a 34 per cent increase in resident satisfaction.

Prior to that role Cluckie was a Director in the Strategic Transformation Group for Halton Region, Director of Asset Management for Halton Region, and Chief Building Officer for the Halton Community Housing Corporation. She also worked for Niagara Region as the Director of Construction, Energy & Facilities Management.

Cluckie was appointed a special Council meeting Monday morning, with Horwath using her Strong Mayor Powers, with the selection of a new City Manager becoming the default responsibility of the Mayor under the new regulations.

The search for the next City Manager began in July when former City Manager Janette Smith announced her retirement, effective October 31. The process was supported by an external search firm as well as an interview panel convened by Horwath, which included six members of Council (each Chair of a Standing Committee as well as Chair of Subcommittee on Governance), along with two members of the public.

City Council was told of Cluckie’s appointment at Monday’s special meeting, with councillors given access to an information report outlining the search, interview and reference process, as well as an overview of her experience, strengths and approach to the job.

As CAO for Niagara-on-the-Lake, Cluckie worked with Council to develop the town’s Strategic Plan, foster productive relationships with community stakeholder groups, and initiate various initiatives to increase performance, transparency, inclusion and intergovernmental advocacy.

During the interview process, Horwath said Cluckie demonstrated a “deep passion” and understanding of the City of Hamilton, a “strategic and comprehensive understanding” of the municipal landscape and requirements of the City Manager position, and a dedication to continuous improvement, systems design, change management and excellence in public service delivery.

Cluckie, for her part, said she was “honoured” to take on the City Manager job. “There are many talented people who work for the city, and I look forward to supporting them to accelerate, enhance and advance their work on behalf of the Mayor, Council and Hamilton residents.”

Niagara-on-the-Lake Council will begin the process of recruiting a permanent CAO in the coming weeks.

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