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District of Saanich ‘ends relationship’ with former CAO Paul Thorkelsson

Search for an interim CAO begins, permanent selection to be made after election in 2022
Mayor Fred Haynes receives congratulations from Saanich’s chief administrative officer Paul Thorkelsson during the 2018 inaugural council following that year’s municipal election. Saanich announced Tuesday it was parting ways with Thorkelsson. (Wolf Depner/News staff)

The District of Saanich has announced the end of Paul Thorkelsson’s term as chief administrative officer and the beginning of the search for his replacement.

Effective Monday, Nov. 29, the district “decided to end its relationship” with the CAO of six years, formerly responsible for managing the efficiency of the district’s workforce, ensuring the carry of council policies, coordinating budget processes and representing the district in labour negotiations.

“Saanich has benefited from Paul’s leadership these past six years,” Mayor Fred Haynes said in a release. He later told Black Press Media in an interview that Thorkelsson’s departure was a human resources matter, and that he was unable to elaborate further given council’s policy on such topics. “On behalf of Saanich council and staff, we thank Paul for his service and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

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Brent Reems, director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal services will take over as acting CAO as of Dec. 6. The process to recruit an interim CAO will begin immediately, Haynes said, with the position posted mid-December, applications accepted until January and an interim officer being selected by February.

“We’re putting an efficient paced process in place to identify (an interim CAO),” dependant on employee market conditions, the mayor said. Once selected, the interim officer will remain in place until after the 2022 municipal election, at which time the new council will recruit a permanent officer.

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