Mark Ruttan, longtime North Cowichan employee. (Citizen file)

Mark Ruttan, longtime North Cowichan employee. (Citizen file)

Editorial: Ruttan right choice for CAO?

It seems clear there’s no great rush to replace Dave Devana.

Now that North Cowichan has hired Andy Laidlaw as the municipality’s interim chief administrative officer, it seems clear there’s no great rush to replace Dave Devana.

Laidlaw has been working in local government for almost four decades and will be a temporary replacement for deposed CAO Devana who left under still-mysterious circumstances in February. It’s expected Laidlaw will be in the job for four or five months.

Meanwhile, the process of hiring a new CAO has begun with local government mentor Jerry Berry of JB Consultants leading the search. Laidlaw, by the way, has been working for JB after retiring from a position of interim CAO of the District of Saanich.

Berry and North Cowichan are looking for someone who has a proven record of success in community planning and development processing, team building and leadership, creative thinking and problem solving. The new CAO will need at least 10 years of experience at the municipal government level.

The “competitive salary” North Cowichan is offering will likely be in the $190,000 per year range. Applications close on June 2.

Testing the waters isn’t a bad strategy, but the muni may find that the ideal replacement for the controversial Devana might already be working at North Cowichan…and has been for about 30 years.

Mark Ruttan, director of Corporate Services and deputy CAO, has been the acting chief administrative officer since Devana left.

He’s an intelligent, conscientious man, widely respected by taxpayers and within the municipal office. What he may lack in flamboyance is easily offset by his encyclopedic knowledge of the community and the Municipal Government Act.

With stormy waters looming, North Cowichan will need a calm, knowledgeable leader at the helm.

Mark Ruttan just could be the answer.