John Maclean (left) talks about a bylaw amendment during a board meeting at the Kootenay Boundary Regional District where he was previously CAO. MacLean has recently stepped into his duties as the new CAO of the Cariboo Regional District. File photo.

CRD welcomes new CAO

John MacLean aims at efficiencies in meeting community targets

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) has appointed a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), John MacLean, welcoming back a former corporate officer to a stronger management role.

MacLean took over his new job on Oct. 2, and will replace longtime CAO Janis Bell when she retires later this year.

MacLean was previously CAO for the Kootenay Boundary Regional District, where he has been based in Trail since 2005.

This isn’t his first stint with the CRD, either. Prior to leaving for his former career there in 2005, MacLean was the CRD’s corporate officer for five years, and he explains how he jumped at the chance when he heard of this opportunity to grow his career.

“When the Cariboo position came open, it was an opportunity to work for a really great organization for some really great people and we got very lucky, and they asked me to come aboard.”

Sweetening the pot was a chance to return to the Cariboo for him and his wife, a registered nurse who will follow shortly when her own job status has been settled, he explains. Their children, a son and a daughter, are grown and both away building their own education or careers.

MacLean will be working out of the CRD headquarters in Williams Lake, but he says communities from one end of the CRD to the other can expect to see him out and about.

That’s because the new CAO is keen to visit as many of them as he can to learn more about the individual strengths and the needs of each, he says.

The community is still recovering from the wildfires of 2017, MacLean says, so this is where a lot of his care and attention will be focused.

“We are going to spend the time and the resources that are required to do whatever we can for the community.

“That’s going to be the primary focus … to work with staff, the community and the stakeholders to ensure that the services that the CRD is supplying are efficient and effective in what the community needs.”

MacLean says his focus will also involve meeting and travelling with some of the CRD directors and staff to all the central and outlying communities he had never needed to before, in his former role.

“I think people need to see my face once in a while,” he adds.

CRD chair Al Richmond says the board is pleased to welcome their new CAO, after MacLean’s 12-year absence from their head office, in this expanded and important role.

“We are looking forward to working with John [MacLean], and looking forward to new opportunities and maybe new ways of doing things. I think he brings to us a steady hand and an understanding of regional districts and their operation.”

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