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Town of Crossfield parts ways with CAO Ken Bosman

The Town of Crossfield has released its chief administrative officer (CAO), Ken Bosman, from his contract. The municipality released a statement about Bosman's release on Feb.

The Town of Crossfield has released its chief administrative officer (CAO), Ken Bosman, from his contract.

The municipality released a statement about Bosman's departure on Feb. 10, after a special council meeting was held privately the night before to discuss "personnel matters."

According to the Town's statement, council approved the appointment of Merel Jarvis to the role of interim CAO, effective immediately. Jarvis has worked for the municipality for 16 years, most recently as manager of development and community standards.

“Town council has complete confidence in the exceptional staff we have throughout our organization who will ensure continuity of the programs and services our residents depend on while the recruitment process is underway," Mayor Jo Tennant said, in the release.

The recruitment process for a permanent replacement for Bosman will begin immediately. According to the Town, no further information will be released.

In his own statement, Bosman said he wanted to thank Town council for "granting my request to be released from my contract, as per the previously agreed financial terms, and consistent with the Municipal Government Act."

"With the two new additions to council via byelection and the tragic death of Coun. Helfrich, council is in a period of transition working to establish new priorities and a new focus," he said. "COVID extended my stay at Crossfield, but I am thankful I will now have an opportunity to return to my home in Canmore."

Bosman said he was proud of the six-plus years he spent as Crossfield's top administrative employee. He was first hired to the position in January 2015.

"I would especially like to say thank you to the hundreds of citizens I have gotten to know over the last six years. The many small expressions of kindness and appreciation citizens have extended to me are the greatest and most cherished memories I will carry with me from Crossfield," he said.

"I wish everybody well, and again express my deepest gratitude for the honour of being allowed to serve."

In his statement, he cited some of highlights of his time with the municipality, including the oversight of below-ground utility upgrades along Railway Street in 2020 and updates to the Town's municipal development plan, land use bylaw, downtown and entrance area redevelopment plan and sustainability plan, among others.

"Balanced budgets, robust population growth, an unprecedented rebuild of our infrastructure, two new subdivision phases for 2021 and a reimagined downtown core all point to a fabulous future for Crossfield," he said

However, Bosman's time with the Town also saw some controversies. In June 2020, he posted a lengthy comment on a Crossfield Facebook page that criticized elements of the Black Lives Matter movement. His comments, and a subsequent letter on the Town website denouncing his post from Crossfield Mayor Jo Tennant, led to a review involving members of council, as well as a third party.

Shortly afterwards, two Crossfield councillors – Liz Grace and Beth Gabriel – resigned from their positions, citing a toxic relationship between council and administration.

“Numerous times over the past three years I have been left feeling that the majority of this council is either unwilling or incapable of holding the chief administrative officer of this town accountable,” Grace stated in her letter of resignation. “Too many hours and too many resources have been diverted from doing the work this community needs to deal with code of conduct violations and endless infighting."

The CAO's release from the municipality also comes shortly after more than 740 Crossfield residents signed a petition requesting the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to look into actions involving the Town. Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver confirmed in a letter to Crossfield council in January that a preliminary review would be conducted by ministry representatives, including interviews with Town staff, council members and the petitioner.

Bosman claimed his departure from the Town is independent from that review, and he will still be participating in the process.

"I will be talking to the minister's representatives [on Feb. 18] and I look forward to completely, openly and honestly cooperating with the minister," he said.

Scott Strasser,
Follow me on Twitter @scottstrasser19

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