Sturgeon County CAO resigns

By Stephen Dafoe

Sturgeon County – County Council accepted the resignation of County Commissioner Chris Micek Tuesday afternoon, that resignation effective the same day. The news of Micek’s departure was sent to media by way of a press release Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Sturgeon County Council called a special in camera meeting Tuesday morning; however, after three hours, media were told a decision from the in camera meeting would not necessarily be made Tuesday and that any outcome from the meeting would be released to media by e-mail.

Council had previously held a one-hour plus in camera meeting during its Oct. 25 regular meeting during which, according to an interview with County Councillor Joe Milligan, Micek’s future with the municipality had been discussed. At that time, Council voted 4-3 in favour of “proceed[ing] on a personnel matter consistent with legal advice and as discussed in camera.” That decision was opposed by Mayor Don Rigney and Councillors Don McGeachy and David Kluthe.

Mayor Rigney expressed his regrets on Micek’s departure Tuesday in a prepared statement. “Chris moved the organization in a new direction during his three years at the helm,” Rigney said in the release. “His vision and leadership will be missed not only in our Council Chambers, but across the region as well.”

Micek had been employed by Sturgeon County since January of 2009, and his departure from Sturgeon County had been rumoured in political circles for a few weeks. Those rumours were diminished somewhat about two weeks ago when Micek dismissed Sturgeon County Manager of Public Services Peter Tarnoawky. Tarnawsky was quickly replaced by Troy Grant, formerly employed by Edmonton Garrison and a man who worked closely with Sturgeon County’s Economic Development department in co-organizing last summer’s Canada Day celebrations at Edmonton Garrison. Those rumours resurfaced Oct. 25 when an in camera personnel matter was added to the agenda.

Micek’s dismissal is the fourth municipal departure in the area in recent months. Legal fired Town Manager Cory Brown in May of this year, and Morinville fired CAO Edie Doepker in July. St. Albert followed with the firing of long-time CAO Bill Holtby in early October.

Former County Commissioner Micek has been replaced by Ian McKay who was appointed by council as the Acting Chief Administrative Officer until further notice pending a permanent replacement for the position. McKay is the General Manager of Infrastructure Services for Sturgeon County.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m glad that I don’t live in the County anymore when I see stuff like this happening, but most towns are not immune.

    We trust our elected officials to spend our money wisely and in the best interest of the community, however, many people find it all too easy to spend money that is not theirs.

    If the County has gone through a few CAOs in a short period of time, I would argue that either the application/interview process is flawed or the people doing the hiring do not know what they really want.

    I would think that if this keeps up, voters will give the people in charge THEIR walking papers in the next election. Each CAO likely gets a good severance package because the County changes their mind. Elected officials need to be able to justify these costs when they make such a decision.

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