Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden has been acclaimed as vice-chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District
Roden, who was nominated for the one-year post by Area “J” director Ronaye Elliott at the board’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 4, succeeds Area “O” director Bill Kershaw. Kershaw had been vice-chair for the past three years but did not re-seek the nomination.
In her new role, Roden said she will act as support for Area “L” director Ken Gillis, who was re-elected chair for the fourth year in a row. The chair and vice-chair will serve until November 2022.
“It’s an exciting opportunity and I look forward to next year,” Roden said. “The TNRD has been through a tough 18 months and we’ve got some tough times ahead. I see this as a supporting role and being a sounding board for the chair.”
In her acceptance speech at the board meeting, Roden said it’s been a pleasure working with Kershaw over the past three years and “working with all of you.”
She is not the only Ashcroft mayor who has served as vice-chair of the regional district. In 2011, then-Ashcroft Mayor Andy Anderson was elected to the same role.
Roden noted she entered local politics to give back to her community, and since becoming a TNRD director in 2018 “I’ve tried to give back to the wider regional district.” She has served on five regular TNRD committees — four at the current moment — and was asked to serve on two more special committees, one of them the selection committee last year for the new TNRD CAO.
She said she had been considering running for the post during the past year, noting it’s hard for a municipal director to know what their role is on the board.
The TNRD board is made up of 26 directors from throughout the region. Sixteen board members are municipal politicians appointed by their councils and 10 are elected in rural electoral areas specifically to sit at the board table.
While serving on the special committee to find a new CAO, Roden said “I really learned a lot about the TNRD and started thinking about how I could give back a lot more.”
Gillis, meanwhile, thanked the board for its confidence in re-electing him to another year after director Dieter Dudy was also nominated this year.
Gillis said he has worked hard in his three years as TNRD board chair to “overcome challenges” which led to the departure of the past CAO, and that the board is now in the “latter stage of a deeply-penetrating forensic investigation, and I very much want to see that through to its completion.
“I take it very very seriously,” Gillis said. “I’m always open to criticism and suggestions and will welcome them from you. I will make you proud or at the very least not embarrass you.”
Dudy, a councillor for the City of Kamloops, said one of the biggest challenges the board faces is to regain the public trust, which he didn’t believe could be done by maintaining the status quo.