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Interim CAO proposes new executive leadership style

Rocky View County’s (RVC) Interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Rick McDonald delivered an organizational review report to council during a regular meeting Oct. 16.
CAO Report
Rocky View County Interim CAO Rick McDonald presented a report to council Oct. 16, outlining changes to the County’s leadership style.

Rocky View County’s (RVC) Interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Rick McDonald delivered an organizational review report to council during a regular meeting Oct. 16. The report provided an overview of the proposed executive structure McDonald plans to implement at the County. McDonald said he’s been conducting a governance corporate review of RVC since he was brought on as interim CAO June 12, at the request of council. That review was intended to unearth challenges, weaknesses and gaps in the administration and delivery of County programs and services. “Upon completion of my review, I have identified that, going forward, the focus should be to implement core adjustments to support a cultural shift,” McDonald said. “That shift will include a service-oriented culture, streamlined processes and an improved relationship with elected leadership and the community.” McDonald emphasized RVC is undergoing rapid change, and is not the same as it was in the past. “RVC was primarily a rural, agricultural-based municipality, with country residential growth steady and consistent,” he said. “Then, the surge hit. Regional development started to expand, and the County had to rapidly grow with it.” McDonald recommended a new style of executive leadership, with the municipal corporation developing into a modern, professional corporate-styled service organization – similar to its urban neighbours. “The modern-corporate administrative model will provide corporate leadership through a newly-created Executive Arm that provides a form of integration management,” he said. “Under the guidance of council’s strategic plan, corporate executives will be responsible for the overall direction of the municipal corporation and oversee the implementation of the corporate strategy, through the work of each department.” Under this new system, McDonald said, a new Executive Leadership Team (ELT) would have a primary responsibility to the County as a whole, as opposed to RVC’s current General Manager leadership model, where leaders advocate for a singular department. In the new model, McDonald said, council will continue to have one employee – the CAO. Council will contract the municipal corporation headed by the CAO to oversee the delivery of services in RVC. “In essence, the governing board of directors of the municipal corporation is the CAO and…the ELT,” McDonald said. “This group of leaders is responsible for setting the expectations and accountabilities of the organization itself, particularly of the directional and operational management as they relate to council’s strategic decision.” The ELT will be comprised of five members – the CAO, a chief of staff/deputy CAO, an executive director of Community Development Services, an executive director of Operations and an executive director of Corporate Services. McDonald said council will set the framework the ELT will work under. McDonald also outlined an implementation plan. Following the presentation to council, McDonald would meet one-on-one with individuals impacted by the change before calling an all-hands staff meeting to kick off the process, which he plans to conduct Oct. 19 (after press time). McDonald would then develop an implementation team to address timing and logistics, begin recruiting to fill positions as needed, and create a Change Management Plan with the ELT to implement and shift the organizational culture. Council unanimously voted to accept the report for information. “I find it very exciting that here we are, on the day we’re going to move in and officially open [the new municipal administrative] building, and at the same time, we’re officially changing the corporate direction of RVC,” Reeve Greg Boehlke said.

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