South Peace News
The Town of Falher welcomes James Bell as its new chief administrative officer [CAO] to ring in the new year.
He becomes the CAO on Jan. 1, 2021 and succeeds Adele Parker, who retires after serving the role since June 2010.
“I am passionate about helping my community,” says Bell, who worked as CAO-in-training since June 1, 2020.
“I believe that in this position, I can build a lengthy career that allows me to help my community.”
Bell had worked for the Town for one year when he became the director of community services in January 2020. Before, he served as a councillor from November 2018 to December 2019.
Bell was inspired to seek the CAO position while he was on council when Parker announced she planned to retire.
“Afterwards, several people mentioned that they felt I would be a good fit for the role,” says Bell, who grew up in Falher and graduated from G.P. Vanier School in Donnelly.
“After some reflection, it seemed like a position where I could further pursue my interests in local government to a greater degree than being on council.”
He expects the transition will be smooth.
“Since June, I’ve been working with Adele to learn the ropes and gain some solid footing before she leaves in the new year,” Bell says.
“Having that overlap time with Adele was such a welcome experience; that time, of course, taught me a lot.”
He is optimistic about the future of Falher.
“I believe our community has a lot to offer,” Bell says.
“My time with various community groups and my previous employment at Vanier really helped me strengthen my roots in the community and built a lot of lasting connections,” Bell says.
“More importantly, all of these groups and their amazing contributors helped me make a difference in the community.”
He brings many years of business management experience and work in the provincial constituency MLA office on Falher before he served on council.
“Having the experience of living here for the majority of my life, having all the background of the region, is in my opinion, the biggest asset for the position,” Bell says.
He is currently working towards his Certified Local Government Manager designation.
As part of that, he is pursuing a National Advanced Certificate in Local Authority Administration Level 1 and Level 2 through the University of Alberta.