More turnover in senior management at Penticton City Hall

Penticton's chief financial officer, Colin Fisher, says it's time to take more time for himself and his family.

Penticton’s chief financial officer, Colin Fisher, says it’s time to take more time for himself and his family.

Last year, Fisher advised senior management at the City of Penticton that he planned to retire.

“I was going to be retiring when I turned 60,” said Fisher, who passed that milestone in August. “They convinced me to stay until Dec. 31.”

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said Fisher has a vast knowledge of accounting and knowledge of accounting systems, and worked to explain it clearly.

“And he has a bit of a quick wit, a way with words,” said Jakubeit. “I always enjoyed working with Colin. He was a good part of our team.”

With the city having the unusual luxury of having a year to find a CFO replacement, a low-key talent search was started.

Jakubeit said one of the names that came up was Jim Bauer, a certified management accountant who worked for the government of Alberta in a variety of positions including chief financial officer, chief information officer and assistant deputy minister.

As of Oct. 1, Jim Bauer will be taking over as the City of Penticton’s Chief Financial Officer.

— image credit: Submitted photo

Bauer started a management consulting firm, and in June, was awarded a $70,000 contract by the City of Penticton to identify improvements for the city’s aging information technology systems.

“When we went out with the IT contract, it was an opportunity to address some of our IT shortfalls and deal with getting rid of some our vulnerabilites. It also gave an opportunity for us to guage how effective he was, in terms of his workload and how he intereacted with other staff and stakeholders,” said Jakubeit. “As it progressed, we though he would be a good candidate for the CFO position.”

Fisher said Bauer impressed the city management, and considering his background as a CFO along with experience in government, it was decided to offer him the city CFO position.

“He’s very good,” said Fisher. “It’s a good fit for the city and a good fit for him.”

Fisher, who started work with the City of Penticton in 2011 after five years with Interior Savings Credit Union, admitted the CFO position has taken its toll since he took over in 2013.

Read more: Penticton CFO swaps jobs for better balance

“It’s time to take some time for us,” said Fisher, who has already purchased a motorcycle and begun making plans to do some touring with his wife, who is already a motorcycle rider.

“I want to spend more time with my wife,” said Fisher, who has been married for 26 years, and has two adult children. “She has made a lot of sacrifices for my job.”

Besides motorcycle tours, Fisher has plans to visit his brother in Brazil and spend some time in Australia, sailing with his sister and her husband on their large catamaran.

“I’ve never been to Australia,” he said, adding that he is also looking forward to spending time cross-country skiing, hiking and a variety of other outdoor activities.

Though it has been hard work, Fisher said he doesn’t regret his time with the city.

“As demanding as it is, you get such a breadth of challenges,” he said. Unlike work at a financial institution, he said, working for the city has given him the opportunity for greater interaction with people, not just other staff, but community members.

“My experience and skill set has expanded more than ever before in my career,” said Fisher.

Fisher plans to make a formal announcement at the Sept. 20 regular council meeting that Bauer will be taking over his chair as of Oct. 31. Fisher will continue through to Dec. 31, tidying up loose ends and mentoring Bauer.

Fisher is the latest of a series of senior managers to leave the city’s employ, including the current city manager Eric Sorensen, director of planning Jules Hall. In 2015, former city manager Annette Antoniak left, followed by the deputy CAO Chuck Loewen.

Jakubeit said the turnover isn’t a cause for concern.

“It’s not a one-man or woman show,” he said. “It is a team environment. Eric is sticking around, and Colin is sticking around until December, so it will be a smooth transition with Jim. Any growing company has changes of staff.

“There will be turnover from time to time.”