Courtenay chief administrative officer leaving city hall

The City of Courtenay is beginning the process of planning for the departure of chief administrative officer (CAO) Sandy Gray.

The City of Courtenay is beginning the process of planning for the departure of chief administrative officer (CAO) Sandy Gray, Mayor Larry Jangula announced Thursday.

Gray will leave at the end of March 2013, following 10 years of service with the City. He has worked in local government for 38 years, with 26 of those years in a CAO position.

Gray noted he has found his job rewarding, but he wants to take a break then do something a little different — and slower paced — for work.

“It’s time, for me anyways, to look at something a little less onerous, so in that sense it’s if you want to call it semi-retirement,” said Gray, adding he’s not sure which career direction he wants to take next. “I certainly want to do some traveling. My wife and I have always talked about working abroad, talked about consulting work.

“A little slower pace would be nice. I want to be around for the next few decades (laughs) and one way of doing that is slowing down.”

Mayor Jangula said the City achieved a great deal during Gray’s tenure.

“Sandy has ensured the overall financial objectives have been achieved and that programs have operated within approved financial limits,” said Mayor Jangula. “He has provided both operational and strategic leadership to the organization, and has been instrumental in leading the local Emergency Training and Response initiatives in place today.”

Mayor Jangula also noted Gray’s involvement in the Regional Growth Strategy and with many of the regional initiatives related to water, sewer and roadway improvement, as well as his role as the City’s chief negotiator during three rounds of bargaining with CUPE.

“On behalf of the citizens of Courtenay and the entire council, I would like to thank Sandy for his 10 years of service to the City,” said Mayor Jangula.

Gray noted his appreciation for his years with the City.

“The City of Courtenay has been a fabulous employer and I have thoroughly enjoyed both the challenges and opportunities I have had as CAO over the last 10 years,” said Gray. “We have excellent employees and a strong team spirit, both at the staff level and with elected officials.

“It has been rewarding to have seen so many initiatives that have germinated from an idea and grow into something tangible for the betterment of the community.

“I have had the privilege of working with many great individuals, and as we look to the future, there will be a whole set of new challenges that will require the direction and insight of new leadership,” stated Gray.

Mayor Jangula said the City needs to be proactive in the search for a new CAO.

“Succession planning is a crucial task that every corporation needs to deal with,” he advised. “It is important that we have a replacement CAO in place, up to speed and ready to meet future challenges.

“As we transition forward, we’ll need to ensure we have the key players in place to continue developing Courtenay as a strong, vibrant community — a City that is ready, willing and able to meet the growing needs of our populace.”

Courtenay’s mayor and council rely heavily on the CAO to act as the liaison between Council and City staff to provide the day-to-day services to the community, and their first priority in dealing with Gray’s departure will be the recruitment of a new CAO.

A report will be on the Sept. 10 council agenda seeking council’s approval to begin the recruitment effort.

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