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Fort Macleod council approves new operational services director position

Council last week approved the creation of the new position of director of operational services for the Town of Fort Macleod.
Council followed the recommendation of new chief administrative officer Sue Keenan at the Jan. 25 meeting at the library.
“This was a position that was identified as critical to our operation,” Keenan said referring to an organizational review of the Town of Fort Macleod.
The position carries a recommended salary of $120,000 a year.
Keenan in her written report to council noted the operations manager is vital given the major capital projects set out in the capital budget for the next three years.
Keenan told council the technical expertise of an operations manager will reduce by 10 per cent fees paid by the town to MPE Engineering.
In the past two years the town paid MPE Engineering $1.36-million for its services.
“The need to create a cohesive and accountable work force will be enhanced through strong leadership and team building initiatives,” Keenan wrote in her report. “The financial oversight of major capital projects will be in place, there will be comprehensive short and long term planning expertise and finally the overall administrative leadership will provide the working foremen with more time to work on town projects.”
Cost of the operations manager will be shared by the public works, electrical, water, parks and development departments.
“I really think it’s necessary,” Keenan said.
Reporting to the chief administrative officer, the director of operational services will supervise the public works, water works, electrical and parks foreman, as well as the development officer.
The director of operational services’s duties will include:

  • Attending council and other meetings as required.
  • Budgeting and approvals for purchasing for all service areas in the department.
  • Preparing each year a list of requirements for improvements, repairs and equipment.
  • Directing, controlling and accounting for all operational services department capital and operating expenditures.
  • Acting as technical advisor and providing assistance to council, management, staff, and the public on operational services matters.
  • Working with planning services advisors to ensure new development meets development standards.
  • Assisting council and administration in the development, compilation, maintenance and updating and implementation of policies pertaining to operational services.
  • Managing the health and safety program for the town.
  • Working with town engineering service advisors to ensure that new development meets with development standards.
  • Notifying the CAO of any problem areas in public works, maintenance or operational service areas.
  • Planning, developing, implementing, co-ordinating, supervising, controlling, evaluating and updating all maintenance and safety programs.
  • Directing activities through the foremen of the operational services areas.
  • Directing the operations of the water and waste-water facilities, electrical distribution systems and transportation systems.
  • Establishing two-way communication with staff

The director of operational services would have other duties related to leadership, staffing, supervision, planning, research, professional development and public relations.
Qualifications include a diploma or degree in civil or municipal engineering, five to seven years experience as a supervisor in a municipal operations environment and demonstrated leadership abilities.
“If we don’t have good candidates, we won’t hire,” Keenan said.
Keenan told council the work of the director of operational services will free department foremen from administrative tasks that keep them from projects.
Coun. Mike Collar said the last time council discussed hiring a director of operational services it was met with resistance from staff.
“That made it hard for council to get behind it,” Collar said.
Keenan said “buy-in” will never be 100 per cent but is hopeful the majority of staff will be supportive.
“Really, in terms of moving forward, we need change,” said Keenan, who asked for council’s trust.
Coun. Gord Wolstenholme said he was previously opposed to adding the position.
“I’m willing to give in and try,” Wolstenholme said. “I hope it will be successful.
Coun. Michael Dyck’s motion to hire a director of operational services passed by a vote of 4-1, with Collar opposed.
Coun. Trish Hoskin and Coun. Keith Trowbridge were absent.