Two senior administrators are leaving the City of Pitt Meadows, including chief administrative officer Kim Grout.
Grout will be the new CEO of the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission, while manager of legislative services Kelley Kenney is leaving Pitt Meadows to take the same position with the Comox Valley Regional District.
“It’s a great opportunity for Kim,” said Mayor John Becker, who worked with Grout since she arrived in Pitt Meadows almost 12 years ago. “It’s fantastic news for those of us who believe in the protection of agriculture.”
Becker said Grout will be difficult to replace, and he will miss “her technical ability, and her cool and calm demeanour during our council meetings. She is very unflappable.
“I wish her nothing but the best, and look forward to seeing her fingerprints on a new look in the ALC.”
For Grout, the new job is a return to her agrologist roots. Her father raised cattle growing in Maple Ridge, and she got a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of B.C., and certification as a registered professional agrologist and a registered professional planner.
Her first job was as a coordinator for a soil conservation organization serving Abbotsford and Langley. She then became Abbotsford’s environmental stewardship coordinator, beginning a career in municipal government – “a diversion into local government,” she called it.
Prior to her appointment, Grout served the City of Pitt Meadows for 11 years, in roles including chief administrative officer, deputy CAO and director of operations and development service.
Grout also has worked for the cities of Maple Ridge and Abbotsford.
On Jan. 4, 2016, she would have served 12 years in Pitt Meadows.
“This organization and this community has gone through tremendous growth,” she said, adding that Pitt Meadows still has “a great community feel.”
“It’s with mixed feelings that I leave.”
Her successor will guide the city through several key issues, including land use decisions, developing a sustainable financial plan, and planning parks and recreation services.
“There’s some exciting times ahead,” said Grout.
But she said the opportunity offered her by the ALC is a great step in her career.
“As an agrologist, that’s a real exciting opportunity for me.”
Grout begins her new duties as the Agricultural Land Commission’s CEO on Dec. 14.
Kenney’s job is to prepare the council agendas, keep minutes, offer council procedural advice during meetings and act as the chief electoral officer. She has been in Pitt Meadows for three years.
“I’ve loved it. The staff are great, and it’s a great community to work in,” she said.
Kenney is moving to be closer to aging family members on Vancouver Island, she said.
Becker said a smaller municipality like Pitt Meadows will often see its staff members move on.
“It’s something we’ve come to accept in Pitt Meadows – we produce great people and professionals. Larger organizations with larger budgets and opportunities tend to hire them away.”
Grout had a base salary of $164,000 and $22,000 in benefits last year. Kenney made $91,000 plus $7,000 in benefits.
The timing is poor, with the pair giving notice at the same time, said Becker.
“The thing is awkward, in that now we’re trying to hire two senior people,” said Becker.
He said council may decide hire the new CAO first, then allow the new top bureaucrat to be involved in the selection of staff.
He believes council needs a CAO whose strengths are in managing change.
In the meantime, council is moving into the budgeting process, which makes director of financial services Mark Roberts the key city hall staffer the politicians will be dealing with, said Becker.