The last six weeks has been a jam packed time for new CAO Albert Flootman getting to know residents and their priorities.
“Busy? Yes. Enjoyable? Absolutely. It’s been a very good six weeks,” said Flootman in an interview Thursday, March 17.
“I’m happy to be here and I look forward to coming in in the morning,” said Flootman.
Flootman grew up in Mitchell, Ont. a small community about half the size of Ponoka supporting agriculture in the region.
Planning is his career background. Flootman received his degree in planning from the University of Waterloo and took that to build his career in planning departments in the cities of Sarnia and then Cambridge, Ont.
“I spent most of my time doing downtown revitalization work,” said Flootman of his experience as the senior planner in Cambridge.
He also managed a number of capital projects while at Cambridge, including riverfront park improvements.
Flootman received his Master’s degree in public administration at Western University in London, Ont. while working in Sarnia. He later moved to Creston, B.C. for a few years as the director of development services. In 2010, Flootman moved to Lethbridge working as the director of community services for Lethbridge County.
“Along the way I spent a fair bit of time in the operations and public works side of the business as well,” said Flootman.
In April 2013, he moved to High River as the director of engineering and planning services. Two months later the floods hit.
One month after the floods created havoc in southern Alberta, Flootman became the director of emergency management.
“There’s certainly some great experiences there combined with a lot of stress,” he joked.
For more than 25 years Flootman has been in public service.
“I try to take that public service aspect very seriously. It means a lot to me,” said Flootman. “It’s a privilege to be able to serve the public and to meet their needs and requirements.”
Working at the municipal level brings a certain amount of satisfaction. Flootman enjoys being able to see almost immediate results that benefit residents.
“You can do things directly for the community that in senior governments, you don’t usually see that relationship,” he explained.
For the last nine months, Flootman worked for municipal affairs as the manager of recovery for southern Alberta. That experience gave him a strong understanding of the needs and challenges on a provincial planning level. At one point, Flootman had 30,000 employees under his umbrella. He feels the experience was positive but he wanted to return to local government.
And now he has moved to Ponoka. In meeting with residents and businesses, the new CAO says the community has been quite welcoming.
“I like the urban/rural juxtaposition. It’s a community in an agricultural area, which, of course I grew up in that kind of environment and I appreciate how connected urban and rural are here,” said Flootman.
In his first six weeks as the CAO, Flootman says town staff have impressed him.
“I’ve been pleased with the quality of staff we have here. They’re knowledgeable. They’re hard working. They want to do good work,” said Flootman.
His goal is to continue to develop the town’s team.
When asked about his thoughts for the town’s future, Flootman replied he wants to see further economic development and downtown revitalization.
Further to that, he wants to work with council on its strategic plans.