Geoff Garbutt takes over as City of Courtenay CAO on April 14. Photo supplied

Geoff Garbutt takes over as City of Courtenay CAO on April 14. Photo supplied

Courtenay council selects new city CAO

A new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) will be joining the City of Courtenay this spring, and it represents a homecoming of sorts for a long time Comox Valley resident.

Courtenay council has selected Geoff Garbutt for the city’s top senior staff leadership position, effective April 14.

“We launched a robust nationwide search for a new CAO last year,” Mayor Bob Wells said. “After months of careful consideration, and over 100 applicants, we ended up finding our preferred candidate close to home.”

Garbutt has been working in local governments on Vancouver Island in progressively more senior roles for 20 years, most recently as general manager of strategic and community development with the Regional District of Nanaimo, but also previously with the City of Courtenay and the Comox Valley Regional District. He has lived in the Comox Valley since 2000.

“We were impressed by Geoff’s focus on strategic visioning, his forward-thinking approach, and his strong background in community planning,” said Wells. “His strong local knowledge will also help him hit the ground running in his new role as we continue dealing with the impacts of the COVID pandemic. We are excited to welcome him back into the fold at the city, and look forward to his support as we continue making progress on our council’s strategic priorities.”

Garbutt holds a masters of urban and regional planning from Queen’s University, a bachelor of arts in political science and government from the University of Calgary, and a professional certificate in local government administration from Capilano University. His professional expertise focuses on strategic and long-range planning, sustainable community development, climate adaptation, and Indigenous relations.

In his personal life, Garbutt enjoys spending time with his family, and coaching minor lacrosse and hockey.

“I love the Comox Valley, and I’m truly excited to be returning to lead the team at the City of Courtenay,” said Garbutt. “I’m eager to work with council, engage with the area and get to know city staff. This is a great community, and I’m looking forward to taking on this new role and developing strategies to implement council’s vision.”

The CAO is a local government’s main staff liaison with council. As the head of the city’s senior leadership team, the CAO works directly with other regional, provincial and federal governments, agencies and stakeholder groups.

Council expresses appreciation to Trevor Kushner for his leadership as interim CAO since last summer following David Allen’s retirement. Kushner will remain in the role until Garbutt’s arrival, then return to his position as general manager of operations/deputy CAO.

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