Town of Morinville fills four staffing positions

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The Community Cultural Centre and Town offices will have a few more people at the desk after four vacant positions have been filled. The municipality has recruited and hired the positions of Director of Corporate Operations, Community Development Coordinator, Parks & Facilities Operator, and Occupational Health & Safety Coordinator, the latter a position that will be shared with Redwater and Legal.

Director of Corporate Operations

Director of Corporate Operations is new nomenclature for a position previously budgeted for. Current Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Debbie Oyarzun was originally hired as Deputy CAO. That position is now called Director of Corporate Operations and David Schaefer began in the role Oct. 1, filling a vacancy that has existed since Oyarzun became Acting CAO in July of 2011 and subsequently CAO.

Schaefer’s most recent position was with the Town of Devon where he was Director of Community and Protective Services. In his new role with the Town of Morinville Schaefer will oversee a portfolio of responsibilities, including organizational effectiveness, project management, strategic and business planning, and marketing and communications for the municipality. He will also oversee Occupational Health & Safety, Protective Services, Municipal Enforcement and the town’s contracted services of fire protection and policing.

Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety will now be dealt with in house through the hiring of Donna Hills-Blanchette, who started Oct. 1 along with Shaefer, her direct supervisor.

Hills-Blanchette will spend half her time in Morinville and divide the remainder of her time equally between Redwater and Legal. She will oversee the health and safety initiatives of all departments and make sure everyone is in compliance with the OH&S Act, Regulation and Code.

“We are excited to have Donna on board as the Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator” said Debbie Oyarzun, Morinville CAO. “We feel that this is a creative cost sharing approach between the three municipalities. Municipal OH&S programs are very similar – so why reinvent the wheel.”

The municipality believes having the OH&S resource in house will allow Morinville to create a culture within the organization that supports a collective commitment to the safety and well-being of employees, visitors and the municipality’s contractors.

Part of Hill-Blanchette’s work will be the re-establishment of Morinville’s Certificate of Recognition (COR). Through COR accreditation the municipality benefits through injury prevention, reduction in lost time associated with injuries, and a reduction in Workers Compensation Board premiums.

“Having someone internal to focus on OH&S provides real value for our organization” stated Morinville Councillor Nicole Boutestein in the release. “Sharing this position with our neighbors is the most cost-effective approach and provides a dedicated resource for a more complete program and a personal connection. It also allows us an opportunity to demonstrate Morinville’s collaborative approach to building partnerships within the region.”

The Town of Legal is also pleased to partner in the hire. “The Town of Legal appreciates the opportunities that exist within the region to work collaboratively with our regional partners,” Said Legal’s CAO Robert Proulx. “Partnering with Morinville and Redwater for the OH&S initiatives makes perfect sense as municipalities have the same responsibilities and legislative requirements for their organization. It is most important that we provide the safety needs and direction for our valuable employees.”

Community Development Coordinator

Community Development Coordinator is a new position that replaces the former Event and Volunteer Coordinator, an office left vacant since the dismissal of Peggy Gilchrist.
Jim Newman takes on the new role effective Oct. 9 and will be responsible for planning and supporting a number of Town-run and partnered events and programs in the areas of culture, recreation or social development.

Newman, whose most recent employment was Manager of Community Development in Osoyoos, British Columbia, is a familiar face in the community, having spent many years with Sturgeon County as their Economic Development Manager.

arks & Facilities Operator

Lillianne Poirier will fill the position of Parks & Facilities Operator later this month. She will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the arena as well as Morinville’s parks, soccer fields, ball diamonds and other green spaces. The position fills a vacancy created when Donald Fairweather took over as Operations Manager with Public Works this past summer.


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