Intern hired at M.D. of Smoky River

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Mitchell Visser is working for the M.D. of Smoky River for one year as a municipal intern. He comes to the region from Red Deer.

The M.D. of Smoky River welcomes an intern who is working for the Falher-based municipality for one year.

Mitchell Visser started his position March 30 under the Alberta Municipal Intern Program.

“When I discovered this opportunity, I knew that this was the direction I wanted to steer myself,” says Mitchell, who comes from Red Deer.

“Through this opportunity I hope to determine exactly which area of local governance I want to pursue.”

He is happy to be part of a small municipality.

“The small size of the municipality means that the staff has to wear a lot of hats and be knowledgeable on a broad range of topics affecting the M.D.,” says Visser, who grew up on a farm in the Rimbey area.

“Working directly with experienced members of the M.D. staff allows me to develop a large range of skill sets.”

He moved back to Alberta to find work in a rural community after he graduated from York University in Toronto with a degree in political science.

“Although I have no direct experience working in a municipality, this practical hands-on approach of the internship program has already given me an idea of what it takes to work in local governance,” Visser says.

Since he started at Smoky River, he has assisted with several research projects.

Visser has drafted bylaws and reviewed and collected flood data for the geographic information system [GIS].

Mitchell will be exposed to all aspects of the municipal world and all the departments within the M.D., CAO Rita Therriault says.

It includes administration, human resources, financial services, assessment, land-use planning, protective services, public works and the Agricultural Service Board.

“The role of the intern is to shadow the CAO as much as possible and attending the council meetings will be very important,” Therriault says.

Visser is learning to record minutes and assists in writing letters requested by council.

He is the first intern in Smoky River since another young student served in 2018-2019, says the CAO, who urged council to participate in the program.

“It’s a win-win scenario,” Therriault says.

“A lot of experienced professionals in the field are nearing retirement.

“A mature student is able to bring new energy into the field and continue the legacy of the profession.”

The internship starts on a one-year contract that can be extended to two years.

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