Islander hired as chief administrative officer for Colwood

Colwood city council has appointed a new chief administrative officer, its fifth in four years.

Ian Howat will take over Dec. 7 as the municipal executive linking municipal politicians to the professional public service.

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Howat replaces interim CAO Gary Nason, a previous CAO for Central Saanich, who took over in April following the termination of James Moller in April.

Howat was selected in a nation-wide recruitment process that began in May. Most recently, he was Nanaimo’s general manager of corporate services, and prior to that CAO for each of Ucluelet, Tofino and Lantzville from 1997 to 2006, according to Colwood’s website.

Moller came highly recommended from Saskatchewan but was dismissed without cause in February, 11 months into the job, after he declined to participate in a hearing about his performance. He received several months of severance and vacation pay based on a salary of about $157,000.

His departure was part of Colwood’s pattern of high turnover in high places.

Chris Pease retired as chief administrator in 2011, after serving since 2006. Ross McPhee was hired full time in 2011, but left in 2012.

Pease filled in again from 2013 to 2014, until Moller was hired in February 2014.

Moller said he requested a meeting with the mayor but after another councillor joined them, he was told he was unsuitable and should take administrative leave, which he did in January, 2015.

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