After a three-month search, Estevan has its new City manager.
Mayor Roy Ludwig revealed at the January 20 council meeting that Amber Smale has been hired. Smale has extensive municipal experience with the City of Regina, and most recently served as Regina's deputy City clerk.
"We're excited, and looking forward to the arrival of our new City manager," said Ludwig.
Ludwig described Smale as a very bright, well-educated, energetic and outgoing individual who will fit in well in the community. Council is hopeful that she will be able to import some ideas from Regina to Estevan.
"She has spent 22 years with the City of Regina, many of them as deputy City clerk," said Ludwig. "She knows the ins and outs of a council, and this will be the next step for her as a City manager."
A swearing-in ceremony for Smale will take place at council's next meeting on February 10.
Ludwig said that Smale might be involved in the final stages of Estevan's search for a new police chief. There are a couple of interviews remaining, and a chief might be hired before Smale arrives. If not, she could have input in the decision.
She'll also be involved with the final work on the 2014 budget.
"Our budgets are tight," said Ludwig. "We're continuing to comb through the budget, and see what efficiencies we can gain. So she will be part of that.
"We're looking forward to her experience with the City (of Regina), and having worked with many City departments over her 22 years, perhaps giving us a new look on some of the things that maybe we have missed, or some of the new ideas that maybe we can gain."
Smale has been the president of the Saskatchewan Association of City Clerks, the president of the Regina Dragon Boat Festival and involved in numerous other organizations.
The search for a new City manager began in early October, when Jim Puffalt was dismissed. Puffalt had been with the City since the fall of 2001. City treasurer Jeff Ward was named the acting city manager, even though he had been employed by the City for only a few months.
"I'm sure that our City treasurer will be relieved that some of those duties will be taken off his shoulders and his mind," said Ludwig.
Ludwig said they had applications from six or seven candidates. After a round of interviews, they narrowed the short list down to two or three, and conducted another round of interviews.
Puffalt, meanwhile, was recently hired as the new City manager in North Battleford. He'll start working in that community at the end of January.
A severance agreement has been reached between the City and Puffalt, Ludwig said. The financial terms for the settlement could not be released.
Please return to www.sasklifestyles.com later this week for more on this story.