The Village of Valemount has named Gord Simmons as its interim-CAO.
Simmons has been retired for the past seven-and-a-half years, but had spent the 25 years prior working for the Regional District of Fraser- Fort George’s planning department.
Simmons took the position of interim-CAO here, he says, based on his pre-existing relationship with the mayor.
“The mayor asked if I would fill in while they look for another administrator,” says Simmons. “There are lots of good friends and good people out here.”
Simmons replaces the Village’s recently departed CAO, Mark Macneill, and Simmons says his role here will not extend past whatever mayor and council requires of him.
“I don’t have a lot of plans… I’m basically holding the position,” he says. “You need somebody to sign their name on things like bylaws, etc.”
“I hope (the Village) looks at getting somebody to stick around for a while. Economically, it’s a good thing for the Village.” — Gord Simmons, interim-CAO
Dating back to November 2014, the Village has had two corporate officers and two chief administrative officers, respectively, not including interim positions.
Macneill was hired in March 2016, while former Corporate Officer, Mark Brennan, started in April 2016, and was subsequently dismissed in July.
Mayor of Valemount, Jeannette Townsend, did not comment when asked about the recent departures or hirings.
Brennan took over for former CO, Andrew Young, who left for a job in Wells, B.C.
Macneill was hired in relief of former CAO, Anne Yanciw, who spent four and a half years with the Village of Valemount, three of those as CAO.
An interim CAO, Ken Wiesner, filled the small gap between Yanciw and Macneill’s respective employment.
“I won’t comment on any of that,” says Simmons. “It’s not unique in the province these days.”
In 2015, the newly elected mayor and Council hired an outside firm to conduct an organizational review, which included a review of the relationship between the mayor and CAO. The $20,000 report pointed to a strained relationship between the CAO and the mayor, and said it was important to solve as it was compromising Village operations and public confidence in staff and Council.
The report suggested the Village was run efficiently, and said while the relationship needed mending, there was no cause for terminating the CAO.
Yanciw is now the CAO of Smithers, B.C.
“I hope they look at getting somebody to stick around for a while,” says Simmons. “Economically it’s a good thing for the village.”
The Village has not given a timeline regarding its search for a permanent CAO.