Familiar face returns to run Town of Oliver

By ROY WOOD

Former long-time town manager Tom Szalay is back at the controls of the Town of Oliver after Council approved his appointment as interim Chief Administrative Officer.

Mr. Szalay’s appointment was made necessary by the extended absence of CAO Cathy Cowan, who is dealing with a personal family matter.

Chief Financial Officer David Svetlichny had filled the acting CAO role, but, as Mayor Ron Hovanes pointed out Monday, the looming budget deliberation season makes that arrangement impractical.

Mr. Szalay, who still lives in Oliver, has clearly taken the short-term appointment on his own terms.

“I don’t really like doing this anymore,” he told Council Monday.

He said his contract with the town includes a two-week notice provision if the town wants to end it, and four-week notice clause if he wants to quit before the December 31 contract end.

He said he intends to work only three or fours days a week and he is already committed to be away for most of September. He will be paid by the hour when he is on duty.

He used a nautical metaphor to describe his caretaker role. He will try to keep the boat going in the right direction but doesn’t plan to be trimming the sails.

Mr. Szalay, a professional engineer, served as Town of Oliver manager for 24 years, retiring in 2014. He was replaced by Heidi Frank, who lasted a little over a year.

Earlier this year, Ms Cowan, a former Oliver corporate officer, came back to take the CAO job, only to be sidelined by family issues. She is expected to return by year’s end.

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