By Trevor Busch
Town council has declined to renew CAO Greg Birch’s contract, and will begin the search for a replacement for the municipality’s top administrative role in the immediate future.
The Town of Taber made the announcement in a press release on Friday afternoon. Birch’s current contract will expire in September.
“We are looking for a different fit with mayor and council, and different perspectives,” stated Mayor DeVlieger in the release. “That said, we have been pleased with Mr. Birch’s accomplishments. Some have been small but very noticeable, like having old, derelict buildings removed downtown. Some have been large but not as apparent to the public, like changing the town’s organizational structure to better match our size and position us for growth, making sure council put in place the necessary committees to operate in accordance with legislation, and developing a strong management group. And some of his accomplishments have been very noticeable, like building a municipal emergency management team recognized at the provincial level, and helping council create the new composting and recycling cart system.”
Birch came to Taber in 2012 from the Municipal District of Big Horn, a rural municipality west of Calgary and east of Banff National Park, where he spent more than two decades in varying administrative capacities. Birch is a graduate of the University of Calgary, with an undergraduate degree in economics and a Masters degree in environmental design, with a focus on urban and regional planning.
DeVlieger said council will use an independent consultant to help select the next CAO, and would like to have the new person start in mid-September. DeVlieger contends that beginning the hiring process now will allow enough time to select a candidate to fill the role. Birch said that he intends to transition to semi-retirement.
“It’s a little earlier than planned and I’ve enjoyed working at the Town of Taber, with its excellent and very dedicated management and staff, but I’m looking forward to not putting in 50 to 60 hour work weeks. It’s time to become a little more hedonistic.”
Mayor DeVlieger was unable to be reached for further comment on town council’s decision.