The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is entering a “new era,” with a new CAO at the helm, according to the board chair.
TNRD chair Ken Gillis recently welcomed Scott Hildebrand to his first board of director’s meeting as the regional district’s top staffer.
Hildebrand replaces interim CAO Randy Diehl, who replaced former longtime CAO Sukh Gill, who left the regional district in February under murky circumstances, with more than a half-million-dollar payout.
Gillis said TNRD board members and staff have approached him, telling him how pleased they are to be working with Hildebrand, who has been in the role for just shy of a month.
“That’s encouraging,” Gillis told the board. “I think we’re into a new era — a highly successful era.”
Hildebrand, who had formerly been commuting from Kamloops while working as the city manager in Merritt, told the board he has identified a number of projects, priorities and initiatives, but wants to get a feel for the board’s vision.
He proposed strategic planning this winter, setting out the board’s vision and goals for the remaining two years of its four-year term.
Hildebrand said he has reached out to other regional districts to understand potential opportunities, noting the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted operations.
“Our current strategic plan, I think it’s good, but it just doesn’t give us the tools and measures we need to properly inform the board and make sure our staff and our partners in the community, our residents, are up to speed,” Hildebrand said.
A committee of the whole meeting will be held in November and the plan is anticipated to be in place in January of 2021.
Speaking with KTW, Hildebrand said he has been getting to know the organization in the first month at the TNRD, meeting staff, government partners and area First Nations, and touring TNRD facilities.
He is working from the TNRD Building downtown at Victoria Street and Fifth Avenue.
Hildebrand said he is a people person looking to build relationships.
“I have a high level of integrity and I like to get things done,” he said.
Interim CAO Diehl had put into place several policy changes during his brief tenure at the TNRD.
Asked if changes made by Diehl would remain in place under his leadership, Hildebrand said they would, calling them “building blocks.”
“We’re going to continue on,” he said.
“If there’s things we need to change in the future, we’ll bring those forward. For now, Randy has certainly got the experience and the knowledge. I didn’t know him until I came into this role, but a great guy.”
Before Hildebrand was Merritt’s CAO, he was CAO for the City of Brandon.