PENTICTON - Finding new, high level municipal bureacrats is neither quick or easy, as two communities in the South Okanagan are discovering as they attempt to replace their Chief Administrative Officers.
Penticton has engaged the services of a recruitment agency following Annette Antoniak’s departure in February, while Keremeos is faced with a similar process with the recent announcement that CAO Laurie Taylor is moving on.
“Council governs and makes policy, while the CAO ensures staff carries out the policy or actions of council. The CAO oversees the financial and operational matters of the city and departments,” says Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, who added the position is a very specialized one.
“The last time we went to market for the CAO we garnered around 170 applications. I can’t confirm how many of that number were of a high enough quality to consider in the first place,” he says.
“Not only do you need to understand management and leadership, you need to understand the politics of politics and be comfortable being in a fishbowl environment... having to be inclusive and open about the decisions you make."
Jakubeit says council is seeking an applicant who is entrepreneurial-minded, including someone who has risen through the corporate ranks but has a solid understanding of the governmental structure and process.
“We need someone who is solution oriented, confident, and good with people from both a leadership and communications standpoint.
The position in Penticton carries with it an annual salary of around $150,000.
Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Keremeos, Laurie Taylor, recently announced she would be leaving the village at the end of May.
Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer says the village is contracting out recruitment through the regional district’s human resource office. The village has budgeted $13,000 for the process, which Bauer hopes will see a new CAO hired sometime in August.
“We’re currently offering a salary of $105,000, which is based on what we can afford,” Bauer says, noting the turnover rate for CAOs in Keremeos is every three to five years. He says the position is a competitive one, with many CAOs gaining experience in smaller communities long enough to qualify for the position in a larger centre.
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