$300,000 for new head of Rye portfolio

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By Emma Prestwich
News Editor

The department that controls maintenance and planning for new properties has been split in two.

Campus Planning and Facilities will be divided into Capital Projects and Real Estate, which will deal with Ryerson’s real estate portfolio and capital assets, and Campus Planning and Sustainability, which will be responsible for the maintenance of buildings and custodial services on campus.

Ian Hamilton, the previous head of CPF, has decided to retire early. He was unavailable for comment.

The university has hired Elisabeth Stroback, currently the senior advisor of construction and real estate to VP administration and finance Julia Hanigsberg, to head up Capital Projects and Real Estate.

Tonga Pham, the current manager of maintenance and operations at Campus Planning, has been hired as the acting director of Campus Facilities and Sustainability.

While Pham has been part of the department for several years, and has gone up through the hierarchy of administration, Stroback technically isn’t a Ryerson employee at all.

She is on-contract for six months through her firm Tanalex Corp. and is being paid $300,000 per year in this position. It is unknown how this salary translates for a six-month period. She reports directly to Hanigsberg, who said she originally hired Stroback in October 2010 to give her support and advice in her new position as VP administration and finance.

“I brought her in to help re-orient me,” she said.

Stroback has a history of involvement in real estate and infrastructure projects, including as a vice-president of Infrastructure Ontario, an arms-length provincial organization.

She was on the board of directors of Housing Services Incorporated from 2004-2007, a company owned by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. The TCHC has come under scrutiny after a recent city audit that revealed the company was grossly misspending its money and not following proper purchasing practices.

The auditor-general’s report circles HSI as a yet-unstudied area of interest in the case, but Globe and Mail recently reported that it plays a big role in TCHC’s purchases and the website lists HSI as a major service provider.

Hanigsberg would not comment on Stroback’s involvement with HSI.

President Sheldon Levy said most universities have two separate departments to deal with real estate and maintenance, but that the two had been combined under the term of past VP administration and finance Linda Grayson.

“It’s most common that you differentiate the physical plant that way,” he said.

Two different administrators will head up the two departments. Both are only acting in their roles until the university runs an open competition for the jobs, which would likely be in the next few months, once the structural aspects of both departments are sorted out, said Hanigsberg.

“We need people who can be in place from the get-go,” she said.

In Ryerson Today, Hanigsberg said the decision to re-organize was made on Hamilton’s advice.

Manager of public advancement Janet Mowat said Hamilton was leaving for China later in the week.

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