CAO departure puts board trip on hiatus

A field trip for Strathcona Regional District directors is on a temporary hiatus

A field trip for Strathcona Regional District directors is on a temporary hiatus due to the  impending departure of the regional district’s chief administrative officer.

CAO Russ Hotsenpiller’s announcement that he will be leaving the Strathcona Regional District (for more on this story see page 4) has left the board’s strategic priorities session in limbo.

The meeting is supposed to take place at the Oyster Bay Resort, away from the regional district’s Campbell River offices where the board typically conducts its meetings.

The change in venue is an attempt at trying to take meetings on the road – a concept embraced by the board to try and include the other areas within the regional district.

Hotsenpiller, at last week’s Thursday board meeting, had a report before the board that suggested the meeting take place on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 9 a.m.

But just prior to the meeting, Hotsenpiller tendered his resignation to board chair Jim Abram which threw a wrench in the plan.

“The board is considering scheduling their strategic priorities session for January and there is obviously a complication associated with that as to who will be conducting that session,” Hotsenpiller said.

“The board has indicated they want senior staff to do that.”

Indeed, in September, the board elected to have Hotsenpiller facilitate the session during which directors will identify their top priorities for the new year.

Abram said in September that Hotsenpiller proved to be more effective than the professional facilitators brought in in previous years.

“Hands down, Russ did the best job of actually producing a product at the end,” Abram said.

“What others came out with was something that was just put on the shelf and never used.”

But the board has recently learned that Hotsenpiller will be leaving to work for the Islands Trust as of early January.

That left the board Thursday with a decision to make.

Directors thought it best to hold off on the strategic priorities session and re-schedule once the regional district’s 2016 meeting calendar has been adopted at the board’s inaugural session on Thursday, Dec. 10.

The board has been working on holding a meeting outside of the regional district office since the summertime.

In August, the board rejected holding a regular board meeting in another community due to the high costs and issues surrounding connectivity in some of the more remote communities.

Directors were more agreeable to holding the strategic planning session on the road and after analyzing different locations such as Sayward, the Tsa-Kaw-Luten Lodge on Quadra and various venues in Area D, which is just south of Campbell River, Oyster Bay Resorts was chosen.