Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) John MacLean.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) John MacLean.

New faces light up Columbia Shuswap Regional District

John MacLean is the new Chief Administrative Officer

An air of enthusiastic excitement permeated the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s inaugural board meeting on Nov. 24.

There are new faces at the table following the Oct. 15 municipal election, including the newly appointed Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) John MacLean.

Voted board chair for a third year Kevin Flynn said he is excited with the new energy in the boardroom, the new CAO and the opportunity to benefit from vice-chair Rhona Martin’s 30-plus years of experience in municipal politics.

Flynn was part of the subcommittee that worked with professional recruiters Leaders International, and included CSRD Human Resources Advisor Kerri Wirth, Area A rural Golden Director Karen Cathcart and former Golden Coun. Caleb Moss.

“The recruiting committee felt strongly that we needed someone with previous CAO experience, and made clear to John that we want him to reach out and have a presence across the regional district,” says Flynn, who noted the board subsequently voted unanimously to hire MacLean. “I think he’s going to be a great addition to the CSRD. He’s a team player, an excellent leader and I don’t think he’s gonna micro-manage.”

Also excited to be back in her seat at the table, Cathcart says she was privileged to be part of the recruitment process.

“It was the most comprehensive, holistic process that I have been part of in a long time,” says the longtime educator of the critical importance of hiring the right CAO. “The time that went into that was mind-boggling but critically important to have all those meetings and ask all the questions.”

MacLean shares the board’s enthusiasm for his new position on several fronts; he knew the CSRD had a good team and is familiar with the Shuswap courtesy of family and friends.

He comes to the CSRD following five years as the CAO of the Cariboo Regional District. MacLean has also been CAO for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and has worked in administrative roles in Cache Creek, Barrhead, Summer Village of Alberta Beach and Stettler, AB. He is a past-president of the Local Government Management Association of BC, with education and training in local government administration and commerce.

On-board since Nov. 7, MacLean is still learning about the regional district but says he knew beforehand that there are exciting innovations and new works underway.

“There’s some thought processing here and they (staff) challenge themselves,” he said. “Will there be changes? Yes, in terms of style, culture and my own personal touch.”

MacLean says the board was very clear in its expectations as was he in his expression of the need for a good work-life balance for himself and CSRD staff.

“They have a good team,” he says of the board. “We will do our best as a staff team to give them what they need to make the best decisions. Then we’ll go out and make them happen.”

Looking ahead, MacLean says emergency management is going to continue to be an enormous issue. He says he is impressed with the CSRD’s current emergency management team but has concerns about the ongoing provincial review and possible implications of changes in the legislation.

“I hope they don’t ask us to do more,” he says over concerns of downloading to regional districts and municipalities. “We want to use our money fairly and responsibly.”

MacLean was exposed to local government 32 years ago when he became a municipal intern in Stettler, AB.

It was there he discovered a passion for and commitment to public service.

“I believe in our systems, country and structures and I want to do what I can to make sure they function properly,” he says, pointing out he is welcomes open and frank discussion. “I want people to understand what the CSRD can and cannot do and to be as effective and responsive to their needs as possible.”

READ MORE: No invasive mussels in Columbia Shuswap water: Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society

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