Rimoka head quits, interim CAOs appointed

The head of the Rimoka Housing Foundation has resigned and the administrators of Ponoka County and the Town of Rimbey have been appointed to fill in until a new CAO has been hired.

Gerry Hildebrand, who had been the chief administrator of the regional seniors housing board for nine years, said he was asked by the board recently to resign.

“The board chair approached me about leaving and he reviewed options with me and following that I elected to submit my resignation.”

“I’ve enjoyed my work with Rimoka,” he said. “Over the years we’ve done some good work. I’ve had some outstanding board members and it was a joy to work with them.”

“More recently that hasn’t been true. That’s as much as I can say.”

Municipal politicians were appointed to the board by their councils after the October elections and they chose Rimbey councillor Joe Anglin as their chairman.

Anglin couldn’t be specific about the board’s relationship with their employee but he did say philosophical differences weren’t the reason for asking Hildebrand to quit.

“Our CAO has resigned and we’re in the process of looking for a new CAO.”

“Gerry made probably a good decision and the board supports him in his decision,” Anglin said. “The board supports him in his future endeavours. I can only say good things about Gerry.”

“I hope to do some work in our industry,” Hildebrand said about his future. He plans to touch base with his colleagues to see whether they have opportunities to work with their organizations.

“One of the good things the foundation has is some really competent managers and in that sense I’m comfortable leaving the organization.”

The Rimoka Housing Foundation is financially supported in part by the Town of Rimbey, Town of Ponoka and Ponoka County to operate seniors housing and supportive living units in their communities.

Ponoka County CAO Charlie Cutforth said two other employees have been terminated in an attempt to address “some serious issues” among foundation staff.

“They’ve made some changes at every level and hopefully they will get on with it,” he said. “Their sole purpose, whether they’re elected or hired as managers or employees is to try to provide the best place for these old folks to live that they possibly can.”

Cutforth said he has worked with the residents’ council to draft new terms of reference and mission statement, and he and Rimbey’s Tony Goode want to get everyone associated with the Rimoka Foundation working co-operatively.

There have been personnel and personality issues among the staff, and complaints from residents about the staff and the quality of their accommodations.

Cutforth promises to take seriously any complaints he receives and try to resolve them in short order.

“There’s something not right in the organization,” he said. “Sadly, I think sometimes people lose focus of their true purpose and that is simple – look after the old folks. That’s it.”