County CAO announces retirement July 27

Frank Coutney, over 30 years at municipality, will retire Mar. 31, 2018; replaced by Rod Hawken

At the regularly scheduled council meeting held Tuesday, July 18, 2017, the County of Wetaskiwin council approved two resolutions that will result in significant changes to the senior level management of the municipality over the next few months.

First, council has, in conjunction with current county administrator Frank Coutney, announced that Mr. Coutney will be retiring as county administrator effective March 31, 2018 after 35 years with the County of Wetaskiwin, twenty-eight of which as county administrator.

On his impending retirement, County of Wetaskiwin Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers said, “Frank has been a loyal and devoted leader of our county administration for 30 years and has greatly assisted in moving the county forward and putting us in a position of great strength and opportunity not only now, but strategically into the future. Although we are sad to see Frank leave us in the next few months, on behalf of the current and previous councils that he served, we wish Frank and his wife Glenda all the best in retirement.”

Mr. Coutney commented on his upcoming retirement that, “although it is with mixed emotions that I will be retiring from the position of county administrator, I am excited to see the county continue to flourish to greater things in the future and know that the County of Wetaskiwin will always have their focus on serving the citizens we represent to the best of our collective ability.”

Additionally, county council has named the incoming county administrator after the retirement of Mr. Coutney. Rod Hawken, current assistant chief administrative officer (CAO) for the county, has been selected by council to be the next county administrator for the County of Wetaskiwin. Being with the county since 2002, Mr. Hawken moved to the County of Wetaskiwin where he spent five years as the director of finance and in 2007 took on the position of assistant CAO. Mr. Hawken has almost 30 years of experience in local government, including eight years as the CAO for the M.D. of Provost, as well as over five years of experience in the business sector. Mr. Hawken and his wife Debbie are also active within Wetaskiwin and the surrounding community.

In regard to the appointment of Mr. Hawken as the incoming county administrator, Reeve Rooyakkers stated, “Rod is an exceptional choice to be the next county administrator for the County of Wetaskiwin. Council has enjoyed working with Rod over the past 15 years he has been with us and is excited to work more closely with him in building upon the strong proactive leadership and safe progressive communities that are currently in place for the citizens in which we serve.”

Mr. Hawken commented that “I am honoured to be selected as the next county administrator for the County of Wetaskiwin and look forward to continuing to maintain and build upon the excellent professional relationship that is between council and administration. I look forward to building upon the excellent corporate culture that has flourished under the leadership of Frank and work with both council and administration in striving to serve the citizens we represent currently, as well as strategically for many years to come.”

Over the next several months, Mr. Coutney will assist Mr. Hawken in transitioning into his new role through the gradual transferring of roles currently held by Mr. Coutney to Mr. Hawken and county staff have been informed of these changes that will be occurring within the organization.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca