The Town of Stettler didn’t have to look far to find a new chief administrative officer.
Assistant CAO Greg Switenky has been chosen to replace current CAO Rob Stoutenberg, who plans to retire in June.
“I’ve had a lot of handshaking and I’ve had a lot of congratulations and things like that,” Switenky said Monday.
He said that at the time that Stoutenberg decided to retire, he had no idea that he would be the next CAO. However, a bylaw has to be passed in council (it was passed last Tuesday) to appoint a new CAO, so he knew in advance of that meeting.
The official start date for the new position is June 2.
“I think we all felt that we would love for Rob to stay and guide the ship,” Switenky said.
“You can’t replace 27 years of knowledge in this organization … what is going around in his brain and his knowledge is irreplaceable.”
Switenky’s job as assistant CAO deals more with numbers and budgets, whereas the CAO position is all about the big picture.
“It’s certainly a step up,” he said.
He joined the Town of Stettler almost 10 years ago as the director of finance and administration, which has since been upgraded to assistant CAO. Before that, he worked as the CAO of Golden, B.C., and as the city treasurer for Lloydminster, Sask.
“I think the good thing about working in local government is you see the results of the organization’s efforts that get put in,” Switenky said.
“Facilities get built, infrastructure gets renewed. It’s right there before you and it’s rewarding to know that you had a little piece of helping progress a community that you live in.”
He said his favourite part of working with the town, though, is the people.
“It’s just a marvelous organization with wonderful people that really do take their careers seriously and really do try to do a wonderful job for the citizens of this town,” he said.
In the past decade, he’s seen a lot of growth in Stettler. When he first arrived, there was no Boston Pizza, Tim Hortons or Wal-Mart.
A lot of the residential developments weren’t there, either.
“We’ve been able to maintain our small-town feel, and yet still have opportunity for jobs and growth and that type of thing,” Switenky said. “We’ve seen our downtown core change, we’ve seen our stores come and go, but we’re still very vibrant.”
He’s not expecting there to be big changes for Stettler, as he believes people like Stettler the way it is.
Switenky hopes the town will continue to make sure there are jobs available and will try to retain young people. He said Stettler is just the right size to maintain a small-town feel while still offering much to the community.
“We’ve got a rural charm about Stettler with an urban expectation,” he said. “We’ve got a really good thing going in Stettler.”