Valemount Village Council
Valemount Village Council

By: Korie Marshall

Valemount Council has let go of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Anne Yanciw. Yanciw served more than three years as CAO of the Village and eight months as Deputy Corporate Officer before that.

“I would like to thank Anne Yanciw for her service to the Village of Valemount, and wish her well in her future career,” said Valemount Mayor Jeannette Townsend in a press release issued on July 30th. “The Village will commence a search for a new CAO immediately.”

Earlier this year, the newly-elected mayor and Council hired an outside firm to conduct an organizational review including a review of the relationship between the mayor and CAO. The $20,000 report pointed to a strained relationship between CAO and the mayor and said it was important to solve this quickly as it was already compromising Village operations and public confidence in both staff and Council. The report, released in June, showed the Village was run efficiently and said there was no cause for terminating the CAO.

“The Village has recently completed an organizational review which will help guide the Mayor and Council and the staff going forward,” said Mayor Townsend in the press release. There is no word from the Mayor yet on why the decision was made, or if an interim CAO will be appointed to help Council with the other recommendations from the organizational review.

The organizational review was carried out by Jeff Bellinger of Nichols Applied Management. The public report, released in June, said Council was not in a good position to evaluate the performance of the current CAO because there were no clear expectations, and Council has yet to identify a new set of priorities. It also said the CAO and Mayor had not established a working relationship, which was significantly impacting the community. The report made three recommendations about making an immediate decision on whether to continue with the current CAO or dismiss her. It made six more regarding clarifying expectations and a process for evaluating the performance of the CAO, regardless of their decision.

Yanciw was promoted to CAO in late summer 2012 after Tom Dall’s departure from the position in early June of that year. Andru McCracken, mayor at the time, said Yanciw shone during the Swift Creek emergency when she was filling in as CAO. He said one of Yanciw’s achievements was navigating the reimbursement process from the Provincial Emergency Plan for the $600,000 worth of work completed on Swift Creek to secure the community’s water intake after severe flooding.

Yanciw moved to Valemount from Calgary in January 2012 where she worked in the city’s emergency department. She was also an experienced manager in human resources. Andrew Young, Valemount’s Corporate Officer and Planner since last fall and Danielle Dysserinck, the village’s local government management intern both cited working with Yanciw as one of their reasons for choosing to come to Valemount.

The Village’s announcement came one day after a special closed meeting the day after a regular Council meeting. During the regular meeting Mayor Townsend said she was looking forward to Council’s strategy planning this fall.