Allison McCarrick. (Submitted photo)

Port Hardy’s Chief Administrative Officer says goodbye

Allison McCarrick has been hired as the CAO for the Town of Ladysmith and will start in October.

Allison McCarrick will be saying goodbye to Port Hardy.

McCarrick has been hired as the new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Town of Ladysmith.

McCarrick has served as CAO with the District of Port Hardy for nearly five years, and will join the Town of Ladysmith on October 5, 2020.

Since beginning her career in municipal government in 2001, McCarrick has held positions as a financial accountant and the Director of Finance for the North Island seaside community.

“I would like to thank the present Port Hardy council and past council’s for their respect and care they demonstrate in their governance of the community,” stated McCarrick when asked to comment. “A thank you to all the district employees who I’ve worked along side for the past 19 years and who taught me something new each day. I thank the community for over 30 years of memories and lifelong friendships. I will always wish the best for our community and all our neighbouring communities.”

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas said that while he was surprised by the announcement, he understands that “in the municipal business when opportunities come up people do tend to move around.”

He added that working with McCarrick for the last five years has been fantastic. “To go from a councillor position to the mayor’s position was a big transition for me, and Allison helped me make that transition… She was my coach and mentor and has always looked out for the best interests of Port Hardy.”

Port Hardy’s CAO wage in 2019 was $129,944.74.

Although she has lived in the North Island for some time, McCarrick grew up in Saltair, and graduated from Chemainus Secondary School.

Coming to Ladysmith is somewhat of a homecoming for her.

“Having grown up around here, I know that the Town of Ladysmith is a very respectful, very forward thinking council, and they care a lot about their community. It’s always called to me,” McCarrick said. “When the opportunity came up I knew there was no way I wouldn’t apply.”

McCarrick’s experience with the District of Port Hardy has prepared her well for her upcoming work in Ladysmith.

During her time in Port Hardy McCarrick helped construct a new water reservoir to increase storage capacity for the district; completed an updated service agreement and forged a new relationship with the Kwakiutl First Nation; carried out a major capital infrastructure repair of the community pier and float system; and carried out an ongoing review of the District of Port Hardy’s Official Community Plan.

‘There’s a lot of similarities in the work, and I addressed that in speaking to council,” McCarrick said.

McCarrick is eagerly looking forward to helping the Town of Ladysmith deliver on their strategic priorities.

The town is in the early stages of crafting a new official community plan, a process familiar to McCarrick from her work in Port Hardy.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” she said. “There’s so much more engagement now, and opportunities for the public to get involved, and engage with these documents.”

“The demographics in Ladysmith are so great, because there are so many young families but there are also still families that have been in town since Ladysmith began. I’m very excited.”

Ladysmith mayor and council have also shared their excitement in welcoming McCarrick to her new role.

“We are very excited to have Allison join the Town of Ladysmith to work with Council and lead our staff team. Her passion for Ladysmith, caring and engaged approach, and excitement for delivering on the strategic priorities of the Town make her a perfect fit,” Mayor Aaron Stone said.

“Through our recruitment process and subsequent conversations I am confident that she will be a great leader for Ladysmith.”

McCarrick replaces Guillermo Ferrero who took over as the CAO for the City of White Rock in May 2020.

As for who will be taking over for McCarrick in Port Hardy, Dugas stated in a press release Heather Nelson-Smith, Port Hardy’s Director of Corporate Services, has been appointed by council as McCarrick’s successor.

Nelson-Smith’s husband Pete is the CAO for the Town of Port McNeill.

Dugas added in a brief phone interview that the Director of Corporate Services position is now available and they will be looking to hire someone to fill the role in the near future.

The Director of Corporate Services wage for 2019 was $98,868.98.

– with files from Chemainus Valley Courier

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