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Saanich appoints new CAO after former staffer abruptly dismissed

Brent Reems is pictured. (District of Saanich) Brent Reems is pictured. (District of Saanich)

The District of Saanich has announced that its interim chief administrative officer (CAO) will officially fill the role for the next five years.

The move comes after the previous CAO, Paul Thorkelsson, was abruptly dismissed from the position in November 2021.

Brent Reems was then named the acting CAO for the district on Dec. 6, 2021, before being appointed to interim CAO in February 2022.

Since then, the district says it completed a year-long recruitment process before ultimately deciding to appoint Reems as the official chief administrative officer for a five-year term, starting Jan. 30.

Reems started working for the municipality in 2017, when he was hired as the district's director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal service.

Before that, he worked at the Capital Regional District and the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson.

He has a law degree from the University of Victoria and a Master of Arts from Queen's University.

"I’m thrilled for the opportunity to continue supporting council’s key priorities and the daily operations of the organization," said Reems in a release Tuesday.

"I look forward to working closely with council, staff and the community as we work to enhance the quality of life for Saanich residents," he said.

The CAO role involves working with both council and municipal staff to complete projects.

When the district's last CAO was fired in 2021, no clear reason was given for the decision.

"This is a personal matter between our CAO, with his HR personal issues, and council," said former Saanich mayor Fred Haynes at the time.

Thorkelsson's dismissal cost the municipality an estimated $580,000 for severance payment. Top Stories

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