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Westlock County spent $149,098.38 on interim CAO

Contract to employ Pat Vincent, which came in 13.7 per cent under budget, ran Feb. 10 to Aug. 3
WES- vincent interim CAO
It cost Westlock County ratepayers $149,098.35 to employ Pat Vincent as interim CAO from Feb. 10 to Aug. 3.

WESTLOCK – Westlock County spent $149,098.35 to employ interim CAO Pat Vincent for just under six months, a total that came in 13.7 per cent under budget.

At their Aug. 9 meeting, councillors got a look at Vincent’s detailed expense summary for his Feb. 10 to Aug. 3 tenure which became necessary following the unexpected six-week leave of then-CAO Kay Spiess on Feb. 4 followed by her resignation March 7 — Spiess has since gone on to head Beaver County. New CAO Tony Kulbisky, who’s spent the last 13 years as CAO of the Town of Devon, started his six-year contract with Westlock County Aug. 2.

Reeve Christine Wiese said they were more than happy with Vincent’s work and called him an ultimate professional, while Kulbisky said Vincent wanted the report public as he “was quite proud of it” and the fact “he was 13.7 per cent under budget.” Although some residents might feel some sticker shock with the final total, Wiese assured ratepayers the county got its money worth and had actually budgeted $172,814 for the position. Ultimately, councillors voted 7-0 to accept the expense report as information.

“I understand that on paper it might look like a crazy amount, but Pat was worth every penny. He was very conscious of every hour he spent … if he didn’t need to there, he didn’t charge us for it. He honestly didn’t even charge us for lots of work that he did and we worked him hard,” said Wiese following the Aug. 9 meeting.

“His knowledge and connections in the industry was just amazing. He was here for us 110 per cent and we checked off a lot of work in the short time he was here. He was very transparent and very honest and I think he did a wonderful job.”

The report breaks down each month by travel time, mileage, meals, accommodation, and professional fees — Vincent submitted $942.50 in travel and mileage expenses for February and August and nothing for the intervening months as he lived at the Westlock Inn during the work week. Far and away “professional fees” make up the bulk of the bill, as Vincent was paid $159 per hour for 37.5 hours per week for a total of $135,308.50.

For February, the total cost for his services was $15,860.49, compared to $17,739 that had been budgeted while in March the figure was $34,302.07 compared to a budget of $32,488.50.

April’s figure was $27,489.50 compared to the budget to $27,235.50 while in May the total was $28,794 compared to a budget of $31,318.

In June the total came in at $19,081.75, well below the budget of $31,938, while in July the figure was $20,799.15 compared to the budget of $29,006 and in August it totaled $2,711.50 versus the budget of $3,089.

Vincent started his municipal career as CAO for Town of Elk Point in 1981 and stayed there until 1991. Following he served as CAO of the towns of Slave Lake and Beaumont and then led Parkland County from August 2007 until he officially retired Jan. 1, 2015. After that he started a municipal consulting business and served as interim CAO for Thorhild County, the Town of Olds, City of Chestermere, Woodlands County and County of Vermilion River as well as Westlock County in the summer of 2016 between the tenures of Duane Coleman and Leo Ludwig.

In addition to at least eight interim CAOs like Rick McDonald and Vincent, plus assorted senior county admin, Westlock County’s seven permanent CAOs since the turn of the century preceding Kulbisky are: Wyatt Glebe, Jim Squire, Edward LeBlanc, Peter Kelly, Coleman, Ludwig and Spiess.

George Blais,

George Blais

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