Manitoba·CBC Investigates

Rod Sage leaves job as Brandon city manager, amid RCMP probe of fatal overdose in his home

Brandon city council says Rod Sage is no longer the city manager. In a statement released Friday afternoon, the city said "Mr. Sage has elected to retire from the City of Brandon."

Brandon city council says Sage and the city 'have mutually agreed to separate'

Rod Sage has worked for the City of Brandon since 1987. He was promoted to chief administrative officer in November 2017. (City of Brandon)

Brandon city manager Rod Sage has left his job, seven months after the death of a woman who overdosed at his home.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Brandon city council said "Mr. Sage has elected to retire from the City of Brandon." 

"Having met the eligibility requirements to retire from the city, the move was mutually agreed to be in the best interest of all parties," said the statement.

Sage has been working for the city since 1987, and was promoted to city manager in November 2017.

He was placed on paid administrative leave in October 2019 following a CBC investigation into the death of Christine Mitchell, a 30-year-old woman who overdosed on purple heroin at his home in July 2019. She later died at the Brandon Regional Health Centre.

Manitoba's attorney general called in the RCMP to investigate Mitchell's death and the subsequent Brandon Police Service's investigation.

Shortly after that, Sage, who was a non-voting member of the local police board, stepped away from his position. He was later placed on paid administrative leave from his role as city manager.

Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest said Dean Hammond, the acting city manager, will remain in that role until a permanent replacement is found.

"Council will continue to ensure our operations are handled in a seamless manner and that services our residents rely on are delivered on a responsive, effective basis. We will commence a process to secure our new city manager in a timely manner," said Chrest.

City council and Brandon police board chair Mark Sefton said they "wish Mr. Sage well on his future endeavours."

The city said it sought legal advice and that neither party will make further comments on this matter.

The RCMP said its review of the police investigation into Mitchell's death is still ongoing.

WATCH | Caroline Barghout's report: 
Brandon city manager Rod Sage has left his job, seven months after the death of a woman who overdosed at his home. 1:01

About the Author

Caroline Barghout

Investigative Reporter, CBC Manitoba I-Team

Caroline began her career co-hosting an internet radio talk show in Toronto and then worked at various stations in Oshawa, Sudbury and Toronto before landing in Winnipeg in 2007. Since joining CBC Manitoba as a reporter in 2013, she has won an award for her work on crowded jails and her investigation into Tina Fontaine's death led to changes in the child welfare system. Email: caroline.barghout@cbc.ca

With files from Joanne Levasseur and Riley Laychuk