Spouses Chris Prosser, District of Invermere CAO, and Nicole Pawlak, Invermere library director, are moving on. Submitted photo

Public servants to serve elsewhere

Invermere CAO Chris Prosser moving to CAO in High River, Alberta

The District of Invermere (DOI) and the Invermere Public Library are preparing to lose their top staffers with a high-profile family of public servants moving on.

Chris Prosser is resigning from his position as the DOI’s chief administrative officer and is taking over the top bureaucratic position for the town of High River, Alberta. His last day with DOI will be Friday, November 1st.

Meanwhile his partner, Nicole Pawlak, also gave her notice at the library where she has been serving as its director.

While she hopes to work in literacy and community development in High River, her only formal plans at the moment are enrolling their daughter Meighan in her new school for Grade 12.

Councillor Greg Anderson, who is a library board director, has worked closely with both Mr. Prosser and Ms. Pawlak.

“There’s no question Invermere and many other Valley residents are going to miss the passion and high level of competence they have each brought to their day jobs. That said, it’s really important to note that they’ve also actively contributed as volunteers with their kids as they grew up in Invermere; they truly care about the community. People leave communities all the time, which is always disappointing, but when people such as Chris and Nicole leave who are ‘community builders,’ it’s definitely more impactful. No question, they are both leaving legacies they can be proud of,” he said.

For Ms. Pawlak, that legacy includes nine years with the library.

“Without a doubt, Nicole’s leadership role as the library director was pivotal in the successful relocation of the library from its old location to the new facility in the Columbia Valley Centre,” Mr. Anderson said. “The move was a huge undertaking, and Nicole and the library staff working with her pulled together and have created a fabulous new public space that everyone can be proud of.”

For Mr. Prosser, his contributions include 19 years with the DOI.

“Council and staff have worked well together and we have done some great things,” Mr. Prosser said. “From securing and protecting a long-term water supply for the community, to building the new community centre and library, to the improvements at Pothole Park, Cenotaph Park and Kinsmen Beach and the growing events-and-leisure-services programming, we have been doing things that are strategic and make sense for the community.”

Mayor Al Miller wished Mr. Prosser well as he leaves to invest himself in his new community.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Chris,” he said. “He was always very responsive and polite and he knew his stuff. He was very good with government matters.”

The council of High River said in a press release that their decision to hire Mr. Prosser was unanimous.

Mayor Craig Snodgrass said: “Council and I are very pleased with the experience and skills Mr. Prosser brings to the position, and we look forward to welcoming him to our community.”

Mayor Miller said he knows Mr. Prosser is “going to a bigger operation, a bigger budget and more people to deal with, so as he carries on in his career it’s certainly, I would think, a bigger responsibility there.”

Mr. Prosser said the challenges he expects to face in his new role are dealing with a larger community (with a population of 14,000) and a staff of 200 people. He is eager to be involved as the community moves forward and continues to develop in the wake of the 2013 floods.

While the family is looking forward to their move, Ms. Pawlak said they expect to be frequent Valley visitors.

“I’ve enjoyed being so connected to our community and everyone who lives here. It is a unique place where the people you work with or provide services to are also the people who have kids in your child’s classroom or on their sports team. There is an incredible sense of community here and I feel so fortunate that our three children grew up here and that our family was able to call this place home for so long,” she said.

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