Hamilton’s General Manager of Public Works Dan McKinnon and Director of Water Andrew Grice are no longer employed by the City of Hamilton.
City Manager Janette Smith wrote in an email this morning that McKinnon “informed me that he was going to retire from the City effective immediately.”
In the early afternoon, Smith sent a separate email stating “I wanted to let you know that effective today, Andrew Grice, the Director of Hamilton Water, is no longer with the City of Hamilton.”
“I appreciate this is a very difficult day for the PW team,” Smith wrote at the end of the second email.
The infamous Chedoke Creek combined wastewater leak began in 2014 under McKinnon’s oversight as head of Hamilton Water. City Council promoted McKinnon to General Manager in 2016. Grice replaced McKinnon.
The combined wastewater leak was finally found in 2018, after years of City Hall ignoring public cries regarding solid sewage waste washing up in Cootes Paradise and Hamilton’s West Harbour.
Over 24-billion litres of wastewater flowed into Cootes Paradise from the leak. Grice was leading the clean-up of the environment damaged.
Senior City managers and City Council decided to try to cover up the Cootes leak. A whistleblower brown enveloped copies of city hall reports regarding the environmental damage to The Hamilton Spectator. TheSpec reported on the documents making the scandal public.
McKinnon is expected to be called to testify at the Red Hill Valley Parkway Inquiry to explain his actions when the ‘buried’ report was rediscovered in 2018.
Community groups working on the Cootes cleanup speak positively of Grice. The firing comes as a “complete shock” one of them told me upon learning the news. [They did not wish to speak on-the-record as their organization needs to meet to discuss the news.]
City Manager Smith writes she is assuming the duties of Public Works General Manager until a replacement is hired. The Director of Hamilton Water position will rotate monthly with a new permanent director to be hired by the next general manager.
City Hall has yet to issue any public statements on the staffing changes.