By Ezra Black
Fernie’s newly hired Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) said he’s taken the job for public service, family and fresh powder.
At a council meeting on Nov. 14, Norm McInnis, the City of Fernie’s new CAO was officially sworn in.
For the last nine years he worked as CAO in his hometown of Olds, Alberta. Then, after his children left home, McInnis said he was ready for a change.
“My wife and I spent our first year, last year, as empty nesters after having kids in the house for 24 years,” said McInnis. “We had the discussion: do we want to settle into Olds for the long run or do we want to try something different?”
McInnis decided on something different and joined 158 others who applied for Fernie’s chief administrative position. The city hired consulting firm, James R. Craven & Associates Ltd., to help with the hiring process. Council interviewed three final candidates on Sept. 10 and McInnis was unanimously chosen.
McInnis’ son has lived in Fernie for a number of years, which was a factor in his desire for the job, he said.
He also likes to ski and wants to help grow Fernie as a tourism destination.
“Fernie has this amazing big hairy audacious vision to become a four-season resort community,” said McInnis.
He is replacing Don Schaffer, who served as interim CAO after Jim Hendricks, Fernie’s last permanent CAO, resigned on June 30 to accept a position as Chief Financial Officer with the City of Kimberley.
McInnis is an academic with 14 years experience in municipal government. He is an instructor at Dalhousie University teaching Citizen Engagement and Consultation in the University’s Local Government Program.
He has a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University and holds the professional designation of Certified Local Government Manager. In 2014 he was chosen by his peers to receive the Society of Local Government Managers of Alberta Award of Excellence.
The CAO supervises all departments within the City’s organizational structure, including financial, emergency services and planning. The CAO’s other duties include setting the strategic direction for both long and short-term goals, keeping council informed on corporate matters and implementing council’s resolutions.