I was recently told that Eliana Clements has chosen to resign from her duties as the chief administrative officer for the Village of McBride after 21 years of service. After hearing this I appreciated reading the positive comments from Councillor Callaghan on his working relationship with Ms. Clements during his time as public works supervisor highlighting her support, dedication and knowledge during their many years working together. I also see that Councillor Reichert is the only other councillor that has provided a few positive words on Ms. Clements departure. What’s missing is that none of the other councillors including the mayor have said anything on Ms. Clements departure. I would have expected at the least the mayor would have said something at the last council meeting especially when it was Ms. Clements last council meeting that she would be attending as the CAO.

My concern with Ms. Clements’ sudden departure is that it will result in a significant loss when it comes to experience, knowledge and guidance for not only the current village administration staff but also for the new council that was just voted in back in November 2014. There will be an expectation that more pressure will be put on current village office staff to now absorb this increased workload that is inevitable from Ms. Clements’ resignation.

I look at this as a fairly significant setback when it comes to this village council being able to confidently and effectively move ahead with those important priorities such as budgets, capital expenditures, bylaws, etc. and not having the crucial guidance of a competent and experienced chief administrative officer to help guide them through this process. I sense with Ms. Clements’ exit, it may very well be the blind leading the blind during the coming weeks.

To fill a CAO position local governments generally go through Civic Info which is the main communication vehicle used for filling critical positions such as the chief administrative officer. This hiring process can normally take up to six months to find the right replacement for the CAO position. I would hope this council doesn’t opt out and take a shortcut and hire someone who has fewer qualifications versus attracting a more experienced and competent person. Hiring the wrong person or a person who lacks the necessary experience, knowledge and education during the infancy stages of this new council could have a very detrimental and negative effect on this council and the community.

The new council needs to hire a competent and experienced CAO who can hit the ground running and be able to assist council in effectively achieving those goals and objectives that are so important in developing key economic, strategic and budget goals for the coming months and years.

Ken Starchuck
McBride, BC