As the new chief administrative officer (CAO) for the village, Anne Yanciw brings plenty of experience to the community. Photo: Barbara Roden

As the new chief administrative officer (CAO) for the village, Anne Yanciw brings plenty of experience to the community. Photo: Barbara Roden

New CAO brings experience and enthusiasm to Ashcroft, addresses employment history

‘It’s a tricky job and everybody has their knives out…’

As the new chief administrative officer (CAO) for the village, Anne Yanciw brings plenty of experience to the community and is looking forward to biting her teeth into some of Ashcroft’s local projects and challenges.

“I’m really loving it, I’m loving working with the people here,” she said. “There are some really big things on the horizon, just making sure that we as a municipality are prepared for those big things is part of my learning curve.”

Some of those projects aren’t yet public knowledge, but Yanciw did speak about a few of the village’s plans.

“There’s the Ashcroft Terminal, which is moving quite quickly and is a really big project for this village. There are a couple of really exciting housing developments being proposed, and they’re both in early stages, but that’s where a lot of the municipal work happens in preparation for a project.”

Formerly a CAO in both Smithers and Valemount, Yanciw has worked in municipal government and administration for over 19 years.

She entered local government accidentally, and despite the challenges associated with her position, she believes it’s a great career: “I really think we should be promoting it more.”

With the city of Calgary, Yanciw worked through various departments, gaining a breadth of knowledge that she feels will benefit her employment in a small community.

Still, despite glowing reports from those who have worked alongside her, Yanciw was let go from her past two positions without just cause, a pattern which she attributes to usual political turnover associated with the position.

“Anytime after an election, sometimes councils want a change of direction, and so that was the case in Smithers,” she said. “It’s kind of a hockey coach syndrome, so there’s a lot of turnover in CAOs this year, I’ve seen.”

Yanciw served as the CAO in Smithers from December 2015 to January 2019. Her departure was reported in March 2019, when the community’s Mayor Taylor Bachrach confirmed that she was let go without cause.

The municipality paid Yanciw $96,413 in severance in lieu of notice, according to a response to a Freedom of Information request filed by The Interior News.

In July 2015, Yanciw experienced a strikingly similar situation when she was let go without cause from the same position with the Village of Valemount.

Valemount’s newly elected council contracted an organization review, noting a strained relationship between Yanciw and then-mayor Jeanette Townsend that resulted in a “negative impact on Village operations and public confidence.”

The 2015 report found no fault with Yanciw’s performance and presented no justifiable cause for her termination.

When contacted by Black Press Media, Townsend said she legally could not comment on what led to Yanciw’s removal.

Former Valemount mayor Andru McCracken helped hire Yanciw during his term from 2011 to 2014, where she was promoted from deputy corporate officer to CAO.

“We hired her within house and found her wonderful and forward-thinking. It was great. Then an election came and the powers that be changed at the Village of Valemount,” said McCracken.

“Basically, there was a little bit of a witch hunt,” he recalled. “The council of the day paid $20,000 to an external person to say, you know, as the new mayor suspects – is Anne Yanciw, is she not fit for the job? The answer was no. She was doing a good job. But there was an unworkable relationship between that mayor and Anne Yanciw.”

McCracken emphasized the complexity of the CAO’s role and the frequency with which individuals are shuffled through the position in municipal government.

“It’s a tricky job and everybody has their knives out, especially when you’re going through a transition,” he said. “It’s about butting heads.”

McCracken said that he imagines when an able administrator is getting things done, noses might get put out of joint.

“To me, Anne Yanciw is tremendously hard-working, talented, and she’ll be a benefit to Ashcroft. As long as they can keep her, she’s going to be doing great work.”

Yanciw has been working in Ashcroft for about a month now and Mayor Barbara Roden was well aware of her previous positions in both Valemount and Smithers when Yanciw was hired.

The hiring decision was made by all members of council, who interviewed four candidates in Ashcroft before unanimously agreeing upon Yanciw as their first choice.

“She’s been in local government for quite a long time, she’s got a lot of experience, which is really, really helpful.”

Roden expressed that it was great to see how many people knew Yanciw and greeted her warmly during the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), an annual conference that Yanciw has attended about eight times.

As for Yanciw’s employment history, Roden said it’s fairly common for small communities to make CAO changes during election time: “It does not mean that the previous CAO has done anything wrong, it just means that council feels that they want to go in a new direction.”

She’s confident that the village made the right choice in hiring Yanciw and noted that Ashcroft was fortunate to have its previous CAO, Michelle Allen, hold the position for many years. Typically, CAOs come and go quite frequently, she said.

Roden has enjoyed working with Yanciw so far and is excited to have her on board.

“She’s got experience in small communities and with many of the same issues that Ashcroft faces, so that is really going to help us going forward because we have some big plans on the horizon.”



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Corey Harkness, who is free on bail, is slated to make his first appearance in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Dec. 14, 2020. A trial date has not yet been set. (COREY HARKNESS/FACEBOOK)
Accused in Cache Creek homicide will stand trial

Corey Harkness, 33, is charged with second-degree murder

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read