Chief Administrative Officer – EXTENDED

Smoky Lake County
Chief Administrative Officer Position

Located just over an hour northeast of Edmonton in Alberta’s Lakeland, our progressive County with a population of almost 2500 residents, four Hamlets and 15 multi-lot country subdivisions, features great opportunities for development, tourism, recreation, agriculture, culturalism and affordable country living. Our economic drivers include agriculture, tourism and the oil and gas industry. Our Main Office and Public Works Shop are situated within the Town of Smoky Lake, Alberta. The total budget for the County is approximately $24 million.


Smoky Lake County Council is seeking a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) who will embrace and lead the County’s dedicated and talented team. This role will appeal to individuals with a proven track record of leadership, financial acumen, political savvy, and the ability to work collaboratively with Council, staff, citizens, government, and other community partners. The CAO reports to Council and is responsible for the overall administration of municipal operations, working together to support the development and implementation of strategic objectives and policies in accordance with legislation.

Key areas of focus for this role will be continuing to build a trusting and collaborative culture of excellence within the organization, innovation and continuous improvement, strong financial leadership and continuing to build relationships with government, businesses and other stakeholders to attract business and industry to the municipality.


The County employs up to 94 employees on a full-time, part-time, and seasonal basis, with some employees being under one of two Union contracts: Operating Engineers Local 955 and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4575 who report to the CAO and Assistant CAO through the Finance Manager, Public Works Manager, Public Works Foreman, Public Works Shop Foreman, Peace Officer, Natural Gas Manager, Environment and Parks Manager, Agricultural Fieldman, Planning and Development Manager, Loss Prevention Coordinator, Fire Chief, GIS Operator, and Communications Officer.


The CAO will support the Municipality, its Council, Staff and Ratepayers in realizing the County’s full potential by providing leadership in the following areas:

  • Acts as counsel to the elected Council and appointed Reeve on a wide range of municipal matters and supports the implementation of Council-related priorities within the municipal framework.
  • Establishes strategic direction based on Council priorities and continual assessment of the environment and emerging trends, issues and opportunities that may impact the municipality.
  • Provides leadership to ensure that all County policies and programs of the municipality are efficiently coordinated, implemented, and delivered in a responsive way consistent with Council-identified priorities.
  • Provides mentorship and strategic support to the Managers’ team to ensure the planned implementation of the County Strategic Plan.
  • Ensures an effective governance framework which provides appropriate direction and parameters for operational systems, practices and procedures ensuring compliance with legislation, regulations, corporate policies, procedures, and guidelines.
  • Actively participates and provides counsel as a key member to the Managers’ team entrusted with confidential information provided at all leadership, Council, and public meetings/forums.
  • Builds strong working relationships with internal and external stakeholders to foster healthy relationships to advance the County objectives of municipal excellence and sustainable intergovernmental relations.
  • Attends and participates in local events and functions in the interest of corporate and community relations.
  • Responsible for the annual operating and capital budget preparation process. Defines appropriate long-term financial objectives and sets annual goals consistent with the business strategy.
  • Effectively communicates and demonstrates the vision and values to all employees. Serves as a role model of these values, creates and builds a culture of trust and integrity throughout the organization, and demonstrates a positive attitude.


The ideal candidate is a proven leader, with relevant post-secondary education and senior management experience in the public sector in a rural setting. A minimum of five (5) years in a senior municipal government position or equivalent experience is preferred. Candidates who bring strong leadership together with demonstrated business and financial acumen from working with other complex organizations will also be considered. A Certified Local Government Manager (CLGM) designation is likewise desirable, however, other combinations of experience and credentials will also be considered.

The successful candidate will have highly developed interpersonal, communication, and public relations skills, have demonstrated success in leading progressive administrative teams in a union environment, and building strong relationships with stakeholders. Success in economic development will also be an asset.


  • Leadership Skills – Demonstrates authentic leadership style giving guidance and support, a mentor and positive role model. Fosters a safe culture of empowerment and trust. Leads by example with an engaging style. Has a consistent approach to working respectfully with others. Works well at all levels and adapts to “changing hats” from working with council to internal staff to the community.
  • Management Skills – Proven record of being able to inspire, direct and evaluate people and activities of a complex organization. Excellent conflict resolution skills. Sets objectives which are specific and clearly communicated, measurable, realistically achievable, and time-targeted. Seeks out, appreciates, and acknowledges input from others. Functional computer literacy and Microsoft Office skills.
  • Visionary – Understands and interprets social, economic, and political trends, as well as issues facing municipalities. Innovative, open-minded and willing to explore new ideas and approaches.
  • Human Resource Management – Supportive leader who demonstrates empathy and emotional intelligence with the ability to bring diverse individuals, departments, and program initiatives together. Consensus builder with excellent conflict resolution skills. Ability to balance directing staff and trusting their judgement and actions.
  • Financial Management, Corporate and Strategic Planning – Leads with a strong sense of service, urgency and accountability in all financial planning, budgeting, and management reporting. A proven ability to work in challenging fiscal environments. Relationship builder with strong “business and financial acumen” and asset management to assist in economic development and other initiatives.
  • Strong Communication and Interpersonal Skills – Builds trust through clear, concise, and positive communication. Works collaboratively with others and is sensitive to the diverse needs of staff, council, boards, commissions and the community. Possesses an honest, open, and consistent approach to working with people. Highly ethical, honest, forthright, and transparent.
  • Politically Astute – Ensures a high level of confidentiality and decorum at all times. Possesses an intuitive ability to read the political implications of recommendations and actions. Demonstrates a senior executive personal style with a professional presence.
  • Customer Service – Confidence in ensuring customer needs are identified and addressed; ensuring appropriate consultation with all stakeholders and delivering timely, cost-effective and quality service. Simplifies often complex and lengthy matters and runs an administration that is service-oriented.


The position of CAO for Smoky Lake County will be very rewarding, yet demanding in nature, with high cognitive and psycho-social demands, extended work hours and travel off-site as required. A genuine passion and commitment to Smoky Lake County is essential, with a willingness to be embedded and visible in the community. It is preferred that the successful candidate reside within the County.


A competitive compensation package will be provided including an attractive base salary and excellent benefits. Further details will be discussed in a personal interview.


Please submit a Cover Letter, Resume and References in PDF format to the attention of the CAO Recruitment Committee. This position will remain open until January 12, 2024, or until filled. 

Mail: Box 310, 4612 McDougall Drive, Smoky Lake, Alberta, T0A 3C0

Smoky Lake County thanks all applicants in advance for their interests; however only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. This competition will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.