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Squamish hires new CAO

Kevin Ramsay comes to district from GM position at City of Vancouver

The District of Squamish has hired Kevin Ramsay to replace the departed Kim Anema as its new Chief Administrative Officer.

A career civil servant, Ramsay comes to Squamish from the City of Vancouver where he most recently worked as General Manager of Human Resource Services. Previous roles in his 15 years at the city included Manager of Waterworks, Manager of Streets, Manager of Sanitation and Director of Emergency Management.

"It's a dream job come true," he said. "It's an outstanding opportunity for me in my career, it's an absolutely perfect location for me to work as a CAO. I grew up on the North Shore, I've been at jobs through the Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton corridor, I know the area well and I'm thrilled at being able to take on this role."

Ramsay found the job after the district advertised on various websites and got an "extraordinarily good response" from applicants, said Squamish Mayor Greg Gardner.

"We were looking for a strong leader is the best way to sum it up," he said in an interview. "Being an administrator of any community is a difficult job, you are a conduit for council, you are dealing with other levels of government, you are dealing with the public.

"One thing we really wanted was a strong leader for our organization, someone who would bring out excellence in our staff."

As Chief Administrative Officer, Ramsay is responsible for overall management of the district's operations, as well as ensuring that policies, programs and other directions by council are implemented. It's also his job to advise and inform council on the operations and affairs of the District, under section 147 of the Community Charter.

Besides serving over a decade at the City of Vancouver, Ramsay is also one of eight senior city personnel to leave their positions since Gregor Robertson was elected mayor in November.

Other personnel included City Manager Judy Rogers, Deputy City Managers James Ridge and Jody Andrews and Fire Chief Ray Holdgate.

Various political blogs in Vancouver have noted what they call an "exodus" of Vancouver city staff but Ramsay said they're based in "simple speculation." He said he was in his job for just over a year, the same length of time he spent in his previous four jobs.

"I moved around the city as the city has required my services," he said. "The longevity in this case was nothing to do with it. I have a great job here, it's not about how much I love my job in the City of Vancouver.

"The blogs can speculate without any repercussions. I would suggest that it is all simply speculation."

Kim Anema left the Squamish CAO position on May 19 citing "personal matters."

His resignation came just a week after firefighter union representatives complained that a career firefighter position was eliminated in the budget. They opined that the staff-recommended cut would leave only four firefighters at the hall available for immediate response. This posed a problem because WorkSafe B.C. regulations require four firefighters to be on scene at a fire before anyone can enter, according to a report in the Squamish Chief .

Anema's resignation also came after representatives from the District's CUPE local criticized him publicly during two labour negotiations. Negotiations with municipal workers were resolved in March while unionized firefighters didn't have a contract in place when Anema left.