Hearne takes job in Kelowna, will stay on council until June
Castlegar city councillor Russ Hearne has recently been promoted to regional manager for Andrew Sherret Ltd. Hearne plans to continue living and working out of Castlegar until next summer as his daughter is still in high school here.
"I haven't resigned (from council) yet," he said. "I'll continue working until the summer. I'll be living here and working out of here until July of August of 2013. So I'll be stick around for a bit."
Since Hearne will be leaving Castlegar before his three-year term as councillor is done, the city will have to have a by-election to replace him.
"I will be moving out of the area before my term is done," he said. "I will be resigning probably next summer which would force a by-election. They can't do any of that until I actually resign. I haven't given notice or anything yet."
Hearne and his family have lived in Castlegar for 16 years and he has been a part of three consecutive councils. He has been manager of the local Andrew Sherret location the whole time.
"I recently was promoted to regional manager, so I look after all of Southern B.C., including the Okanagan and all the way up to Prince George," he said. "So with that it's just to difficult to do (the job) out of here. Too much commute time. So I'll be relocating to Kelowna. With my daughter having one more year of high school left, we're going to live here and work out of here until she graduates. And then we'll move on."
Hearne has enjoyed his time in the area and on council.
"I've been on council for awhile and I like it," he said. "Castlegar's been a great place to live. I love it here and I love the people here. I see it as a place I may one day retire in. But this opportunity's come forward and I can't really turn it down."
He is pleased with the many accomplishments that he and council have done in his time here.
"We've done a lot of great things," said Hearne. "I'm really proud of our new city hall that I was part of. I'm part of the recycling program we've been able to introduce. The yard waste/recycling and all those great moves towards energy reduction. I'm really proud to work with the staff and community, that have made it easy. We've had to deal with the rec centre and the Pioneer ice. That didn't go the way we hoped but it went the way the community wanted. I'm hoping we can get something moving before I'm done. Lots of good things."
Over the years, Hearne has watched his son move through minor hockey and his daughter through dance, "I think those things have been great." He was involved with Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce and has volunteered at many local community events and festivals.
"I like the community and always have," he said. "It's been the greatest place I've ever lived."
Although Hearne wouldn't outright dismiss, he said he doesn't plan on pursing a council spot in Kelowna.
"I went into council not as a career or dreams of higher office," he said. "I did it because I love my community and it fit with the job I do. Kelowna's a pretty big centre and I don't know if I would want to make politics my full-time job. I really like my job and the company I work for. I see myself being involved with something there but not politics - too much of a time commitment there."
He may be know as one of the "three amigos" with fellow councillors Kevin Chernoff and Deb McIntosh, but Hearne has always been his own man. Not afraid to court controversy over issues such as urban chickens, Hearne has been firm but fair in his convictions. His sense of humour and unique look at issues will be missed at council and by the media, and general public, who enjoy his often out-of-the-box answers to typical queries.