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July 30th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 30
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Sheldon Steinke reflects on seven
and a half months as CAO
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Lisa Sygutek Photo
Sheldon Steinke on his first day as CAO for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter

This time last year CAO Sheldon Steinke was a retired gentleman.
He retired as the town manager for Coaldale in 2005, he’d retired from the military in 2010 and then spent the next few years trying to figure out the R word; retirement.
“I was obviously having struggles with it or I wouldn’t be here,” says Steinke. “I was a very active guy for some thirty years and then to come to that was difficult for me.”
A citizen of the Pass, Steinke was aware of the local political scene during the previous council’s wholesale replacement. He felt concern for the new council, whom he suspected did not know what they were getting themselves into. The previous CAO resigned a week after the election.
Steinke approached the mayor and asked if they needed someone with experience to help council transition into its new role; he initially expected the job to last from three to six months.
June Steinke agreed to remain CAO until March 31, 2018, so retiring is still a ways away.
“Whether I should be congratulated or given condolences, I’m not sure,” says Steinke who will be 67 in 2018. “[But] I’m really committed mentally and professionally to help these new people develop a systematic approach to local government.”
continued below...


Steinke hopes he can provide some consistency over the next several years to let the new directors and staff adjust to their roles.
In the seven and a half months he’s been CAO the biggest challenge he’s faced has been the close to complete rebuild of the municipalities management and staff after a series of resignations.
In February, the longtime director of finances Marion Vanoni passed away. Shortly after, Frank Besinger, director of operations planning and engineering resigned prematurely followed by the operations manager in March.
“Thank goodness for the staff we have at the office,” says Steinke. “They did a stellar job and great kudos to the lead hands in the union; plowing snow, dealing with repairs and carrying on without much supervision.”
The budget was also a huge issue to deal with, as there was no financial person with knowledge of the history of any of the budget presentations, he says.
With the hiring of Patrick Thomas as the new director of planning, engineering and operations and Michele Schalekamp as the new director of finance and corporate services, Steinke hopes the next seven months will be less hectic.
“It’s been a partnership of companies and people pulling together to assist the municipality through that last seven months,” he says. “There’s no party politics here, its just people trying to do the best for their community.”
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July 30th ~ Vol. 84 No. 30
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