Prior to joining the municipality this past November, Iain held several municipal roles for the City of Edmonton and the City of Wetaskiwin. In his volunteer pursuits, Iain is very involved in football and had been the Head Coach of the Edmonton Huskies Football Club since 2011. Welcome Iain!
Q: How did your experience with the City of Wetaskiwin and the City of Edmonton prepare you for your position as Municipal Clerk for the Halifax Regional Municipality?
A: While this may sound a bit strange, I have known what I wanted to do for my career since I was in Grade Six — to work in municipal government and coach football. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had diverse experiences so far in my career that have allowed me to pursue these passions.
Working in small, medium and large municipalities in both urban and rural settings, has allowed me to see the diverse opportunities and challenges that arise. The Halifax Regional Municipality has all these communities under one administration, and I am thrilled to be a part of the team providing services to residents.
In Wetaskiwin, I was able to work both for the County and the City with firsthand experience in regional partnerships between urban and rural communities. I was able to work on all facets of a municipal government, from Public Works to Finance. I felt like a jack of all trades most days. It was a great chance to get firsthand knowledge on how municipalities work and create community for residents, it was an experience that I will always be grateful to have had.
The City of Edmonton provided a chance to work in a large organization where specialization and a true corporate approach to governance was always required. This allowed a farm kid to experience big city administration. I was lucky enough to be able to work on and lead teams while with the City of Edmonton that not only challenged me but encouraged me to grow as a leader.
I hope these experiences will allow me to add value to the organization, while continuing to learn about the region and how the municipality works.
Q: What attracted you to this position and the opportunity to relocate to Halifax?
A: The opportunity to become part of the team was one that I jumped at when it became a possibility. My wife and I fell in love with the region when we spent our honeymoon here and cannot wait to become a part of the community. While there have been more than a few times that moving across the country has been daunting, we are excited to give our three young children the experiences that growing up in Nova Scotia will bring and hope to make lifelong friends in our new home.
Q: Since starting your role in November, what are some of the initiatives you and your team have been supporting?
A: To say it has been a fast start would be an understatement.
From wrapping up the 2020 General Election, privacy impact assessments, processing access to information requests, the continuous work on corporate records program and of course the procedural support to Regional Council, Community Councils and the numerous Agencies, Boards and Committees it has been very clear to me how committed the Municipal Clerk’s Office is to service excellence.
It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know everyone within the office and throughout the organization and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
Q: What are some goals you envision for your role and for your team?
A: A principled-based approach to teamwork and leadership is something I have strived for throughout my career. Defined principles help to ground not only what work needs to be done and how to do it, but why the work is so critical. A paramount goal for me is that our team continues to define these principles, within the requirements of the Clerk’s Office and continue moving forward with championing this approach to our service level for all external and internal stakeholders.
As for more specific items, I am looking forward to finding efficiencies with the virtual meeting process for all meeting types, including agenda distribution as well as some new processes within the Access & Privacy Office that will help ensure we meet legislative timelines.
There will also be opportunities for process changes in the Election Office as we continue to unpack the lessons learned from the 2020 General Election.
There will be many more as my colleagues continue to educate me on the office and how I can best support them.
Q: COVID-19 must have added another layer to relocating and (virtually) joining a new team. Can you speak to this experience?
A: The experience has been unique to say the least — from virtual interviews to quarantining upon arrival to meeting many of my colleagues in an online environment — but it has been very rewarding and challenging. I am so grateful for the Clerk’s Office in helping make the transition rewarding and fun!
A special thanks must be given to Karen Marr and John Traves for putting up with more than a few ridiculous questions as I have gotten my feet under me.
Please, if I have not had the chance to meet you send me a note or, when we are able to, stop by and say hi — I look forward to getting the chance to meet you!