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Bighorn council briefs: New interim CAO appointed

Bighorn council briefs: Frank Besinger appointed as interim CAO, MD evaluating use of transfer site and new memorial plaque policy approved.
MD of Bighorn office 2
MD of Bighorn Office on Thursday. RMO FILE PHOTO

MD appoints Frank Besinger as interim CAO

After the MD of Bighorn parted ways with Robert Ellis as the CAO, municipal council has appointed Frank Besinger as the interim CAO until a permanent replacement is found.

“After council reviewed the governance audit, there were a number of potential interim CAO candidates that were provided to us,” Reeve Lisa Rosvold said. “Council took the time and had virtual interviews with four of those candidates. We took some more time and had in-person interviews with two candidates.”

Besinger has previously served as the director of engineering and infrastructure for Saddle Hills County. He also served as the CAO of the Town of Valleyview from August 2010 to April 2011.

“We are looking forward to making the next steps and continuing on this path to finding a permanent CAO,” Rosvold said.

Ellis was terminated from his position Oct. 11 at a special meeting of council. Shaina Tutt began to serve as the acting CAO at that point, while also serving as the director of finance for the MD. She has held the director position since August 2013.

Ellis had been the director of planning services since December 2001, before taking over as acting CAO while previous CAO Martin Buckley was on a leave of absence for medical reasons. Following Buckley’s retirement in 2018, Ellis became the permanent CAO on Jan. 1, 2019.

MD evaluating use of transfer site

After the MD was granted access to large transfer bins along the Highway 1A/1X site, administration is looking at options to change the end delivery of the MD’s solid waste program.

As part of the trial program, the MD will be disposing and temporarily storing its solid waste in the two large transfer bins, rather than directly hauling to the Spy Hill Landfill in Calgary.

The MD would then use a long-haul operator to haul and tip at a landfill.

“The utility foreman is very excited about it because they touched on programs like this at the recycling conference,” Coun. Jen Smith said. “Something as simple as this can be a very green solution.”

Bill Luka, director of operations, said the site is fenced so there should be no wildlife concerns.

“I believe they have lids, and the site is fenced,” Luka said. “I haven’t been out there for a few years, but we can look at that. I don’t believe there have been any issues before.”

Administration will evaluate if the use of the transfer site and large bins will increase the current operational capacity and lower the operating costs.

The public is not expected to notice a change in the current level of service.

MD approves new memorial plaque policy

A new memorial plaque policy is now in place for the MD of Bighorn.

The decision came after discussions between the community service coordinator and operations department identified updates were needed to the longstanding policy.

The new policy will give applicants the opportunity to have a plaque mounted on a bench from an approved list of locations. The previous policy allowed donors to select their preferred sites. 

“A standardized plaque to be placed on the bench and charging a fee for it is the way to go,” said Coun. Rick Tuza. “I wish we thought of this earlier in my area.”

Bighorn administration said each plaque will cost about $3,000, but historically there have not been many requests, averaging about one a year.

Bighorn administration noted a person does not have to be an MD resident to have a plaque.

Rosvold questioned if information on who the plaque was dedicated to could be shared with the community.

“Even if it is a member of the travelling public who came to that spot and that is their connection, I think it would be nice for the community to know how that person was connected,” Rosvold said.

Administration said some people may just want the plaque and not want to give too much information about the person. The MD of Bighorn can also remove a plaque.

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