PENTICTON - Penticton’s new Chief Administrative Officer has been busy this week getting acquainted with city personnel and procedures as he comes out of retirement to take on the city manager’s job
Eric Sorensen does not have any municipal government experience, but has an extensive background in the private sector.
He was president and CEO of Sun-Rype Products from 2004-2008, president of Warner-Lambert form 1995-2001 and vice-president of sales and customer development at Nabob Coffee company and Kraft Food group from 1986-1995.
Sorensen, a former Penticton resident, was involved in local politcs in the past. He now lives in Kelowna and also has a home on Osoyoos Lake.
“I think a lot of skills and capabilities I have are applicable to not-for-profit, profit and the public sector," he says. “In terms of skills and experience that can be applied in any of those sectors, I think the difference is going to be having a broader engagement with citizens, versus shareholders."
Sorensen says he also realizes the public sector is different than a corporation.
“The whole engagement process with stakeholders is a little bit different in the public sector than a corporation and I do understand and accept that,” he says.
As far as dealing with the media and facing additional public scrutiny and criticism Sorensen says, “It is what it is. I’m not going to be the primary voice for the city, that will be the mayor and council.”
Sorensen says he would, from time to time, contribute to that process, but would be spending his efforts focusing on his job and assisting the efforts of the employees of the city of Penticton, a point also echoed by Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.
The mayor said earlier this week he sees the CAO’s position as one in which the administrator demonstrates leadership, works with council and get the most of staff.
Jakubeit said the city needed a "business lens" on the community and a CAO who understood how to foster initiative and provide council with the knowledge needed to be proactive. The mayor also felt Sorensen’s experience in the business world would not be a serious impediment to his transition to working in the public sector.
Sorensen’s first official day with the city is July 20.
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