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Sheila Bassi-Kellett, Yellowknife city manager, to step down

Sheila Bassi-Kellett and Dave Kellett.
Sheila Bassi-Kellett and Dave Kellett during Yellowknife's 2023 Canada Day parade. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Yellowknife’s city manager has told staff she intends to step down from the position by the end of March 2024.

In a Friday email titled “a personal update,” Sheila Bassi-Kellett told colleagues the next few months would serve as a transition period.

No replacement has so far been announced.

“I wanted to let you know that I’ve advised council of my intention to resign by the end of March 2024 from my role as city manager,” Bassi-Kellett wrote.

“This is not a decision I’ve made lightly because this is by far the best executive role that I’ve ever held. Being the best job is in large part because the nature of our work is doing things that are in the best interests of our community, and what a privilege and honour that is.



“The other large part of why this job is so terrific is the ability to work with each and every one of you. You are the best ambassadors for the city and you demonstrate that day in, day out by making our community such an amazing place to live, work and visit.”

Bassi-Kellett took over from previous senior administrator Dennis Kefalas in March 2017.

She had previously served as the NWT government’s deputy minister of human resources since 2011. A resident of the territory since the 1980s, her résumé also includes a spell as Tulita’s senior administrator.

In her time at Yellowknife City Hall, Bassi-Kellett faced challenges that ranged from harassment allegations within municipal enforcement to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact both on the municipality and its residents.



She tangled with union bosses over donuts during a weeks-long strike and assumed a lead role in Yellowknife’s evacuation this summer, just days after declaring only “a massive kind of incident” would trigger an evacuation by road and air.

In 2020, she received a national Women of Influence in Local Government award.

Mayor of Yellowknife Rebecca Alty, who nominated Bassi-Kellett for that award, called her “a big-picture thinker” who takes a “together we’re better” approach.

Bassi-Kellett concluded her Friday email by telling staff: “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you over the next few months and supporting council and city administration in this transition.”