George Murray named new Abbotsford city manager

Chief administrative officer for the Fraser Valley Regional District will take Abbotsford job in February.

George Murray has been named Abbotsford’s new city manager.

The chief administrative officer for the Fraser Valley Regional District, and former secretary-treasurer with the Abbotsford School District, will begin his new position effective Feb. 4, 2013.

He replaces Frank Pizzuto, who resigned on Dec. 11 after holding the position for four years.

The announcement of Murray’s hiring came just eight days after Pizzuto gave his resignation letter to council.

“Absolutely, it’s a quick turn around,” said Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman.

While Banman said he didn’t expect the resignation to come this soon, Pizzuto had informed him last year that he would likely retire before the end of Banman’s term.

Knowing that Murray had been shortlisted for the position in 2008, Banman decided to broach the subject.

“I asked him, sort of a long time ago, if something were to happen, would you be interested, and he said that he would be interested in the talk and things just fell into place,” said the mayor.

Murray was approved unanimously by council.

Along with his experience on the FVRD and his familiarity with the city, Banman noted Murray is a CGA (certified general accountant) “… so his skills to go through a budget and find (dollars) that are hidden are exemplary.”

Banman said his biggest challenge will be to go though each department’s budget and ask “critical questions” on what they do, how they do it, and why.

Murray said he plans to listen, learn and assess – then he’ll identify the biggest challenges.

He has lived in the Fraser Valley for 20 years and is looking forward to working with a council that he feels comfortable with.

“I’ve known the majority of council for a dozen years. Five of them sit on our (FVRD) board.”

He has also been involved with the community in other areas, having served as a board member during the BC Summer Games and BC Seniors Games when held in Abbotsford.

Murray will be responsible for management of the City of Abbotsford’s $260 million budget and more than 800 employees.

General Manager of Engineering and Regional Utilities, Jim Gordon, will fill the position of acting city manager until Murray is in place.

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