In 1986, Tim Fox was hired by the rural municipality of Lacadena as assistant administrator, beginning what would turn out to be a career in public service spanning three decades.
Fox was honoured by the County of Stettler council at its Wednesday, Jan. 13 meeting for his three decades of contributions to public service and presented with a painting by Reeve Wayne Nixon.
Over three decades, Fox has worked in rural municipalities in Saskatchewan, regional districts in British Columbia, and for the past 11 years, the County of Stettler. He didn’t start in public service though; instead, he laboured with the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool.
“It was a fairly physical, demanding job,” Fox said. It was through working with the Wheat Pool that Fox had his first brush with administrators, people he worked with who became friends.
“Just through listening to them, and seeing how they enjoyed it, and looking at a future for myself, I thought there was excellent opportunities for me in administration,” Fox said.
Without a post-secondary education, Fox turned to correspondence courses at the University of Regina, and while working at the Wheat Pool earned his Class C administration certificate. It was enough to leave the Wheat Pool behind, and he started his stint at Lacadena. That lasted a year as assistant and another as administrator, before he moved north to the RM of Sliding Hills.
Fox continued to do post-secondary correspondence courses and earned his Class A administration certificate, opening up several more opportunities in the public service. Those opportunities brought him to British Columbia, where he and his family stayed for four years before returning to Saskatchewan, where he worked as administrator in Craik.
“We had a young family and felt moving back to Saskatchewan was attractive to us,” Fox said of the decision made by him and his wife. “We spent 10 years there, and then we moved to Stettler.”
With the children grown, it was the perfect time to move, and Fox was itching for the challenge of a larger community, he said. Stettler was searching for a new CAO and it was providential for both.
During his 11 years in Stettler, Fox has helped steer the county toward several achievements, many of which he takes great pride in.
“One of the things I’m extremely proud of is the establishment and eventual nearly completed Shirley McClellan Water Authority,” Fox said. “I’ve been part of that since the start, and we’ve only got a few more communities to hook up. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s provided treated water to almost all of the communities in the county.”
Fox was also involved in the creation of a rural water master plan for the county, which was made possible through a grant from the province. The master plan means that eventually, should all go according to plan, residences outside of communities in the county will have access to the water system too.
Another achievement Fox is proud of is the building of the county’s reserves, which was at a slim $2-3 million when he took the administration helm. Now, it’s nearly $16 million.
“Budgets have been successful with very minimal tax increases,” Fox said. “We’ve had successful and clean audits with no concerns over the years. It’s been a great feat.”
For those who might be interested in pursuing a path in administration, Fox said the key to success is continuing to build one’s education.
“Never stop learning,” he said. If you start in one branch of administration, learn about others so you can move around the various departments and understand a bit about everything.