Watson says leaving office his head held high

The decision to release Ponoka’s chief administrative officer did not come as a surprise for some and most especially for the CAO himself.

“There were successes and joys celebrated over the past six-plus years.” - Former CAO Brad Watson

“There were successes and joys celebrated over the past six-plus years.” - Former CAO Brad Watson

The decision to release Ponoka’s chief administrative officer did not come as a surprise for some and most especially for the CAO himself.

“It was made apparent to me for some time that they (councillors) had interest in that,” said Brad Watson after he was released from his contract Jan. 14 by Ponoka town council after an in-camera meeting.

That decision came within two and a half months of new councillors being elected. Despite being released, Watson said councillors treated him respectfully. “We left shaking hands.”

“I said look, I’m not into mud-slinging. That’s not my character, that’s not in my nature,” explained Watson.

He said he and his family would miss Ponoka.

“We love the community. There’s great, great people here. It’s a good community,” he added.

Watson admitted he had dealt with some individuals who focused more on the negative but feels in any community there are people like that. “Thankfully they’re in the minority.”

The CAO was hired in November, 2007 and said he was proud of many accomplishments over that time. He provided services as a notary to residents and enjoyed working to respond to their needs and working with town staff. Introducing the electronic voting system also proved beneficial. This became apparent in the recent mayoral race.

“The staff, look at what they’re accomplishing,” said Watson. “There were successes and joys celebrated over the past six-plus years.”

He feels there have been many challenges such as where to put the Visitor’s Centre and how to best deal with the recent town annexation on Highway 2 and Highway 53.

“There are challenges now with the railway spur line, but pick a community, there’s always challenges,” explained Watson.

While his immediate future is uncertain, Watson has already been contacted by some municipalities who have interest in his skills.

One of the things Watson is best known for in Ponoka is his fireworks abilities. He would work with the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce to present fireworks during Almost Midnight Madness. Reviews of the fireworks display was usually received well by residents.