What’s old is new again at City Hall. After a short search for a chief administrative officer (CAO), city council has reached into the past to hire Doug Allin back to the position.
In a press release sent out on Friday, the city announced that Allin had been hired after a special in-camera meeting of council on Feb. 10.
Allin served as CAO in Grand Forks from 2012-2014 and has an extensive career working in local government. He brings over 20 years of experience in public works and operations. Over the past two years, Allin has helped move the City of Grand Forks forward operationally and from a development perspective, said the release.
“I was delighted and a little shocked when I received the offer to return to the CAO position but considered it because I had already invested two and a half years in the organization and community,” said Allin in the release.
Allin parted ways with the city after a special in-camera meeting of the former council in November right after the election but before the swearing-in ceremony.
The city received over 40 resumes for the position with most coming from out of province but none had the experience or knew the community like Allin.
“I came back because there are so many amazing people in the community and so much amazing support for me to come back,” said Allin to the Gazette on Monday. “A lot of people were sending me positive messages and it felt like the right thing. Everybody has to make choices in life and I believe everything happens for a reason.”
Allin said the main reason he returned is because of the potential he sees in Grand Forks.
“Grand Forks is destined for some great things,” he said. “It was important for me to come back and be a part of that based on the support I received from council and the public.”
Allin began work on Monday and is already pleased with briefings he has had with mayor and council.
“The mayor and I had a great conversation today and everything is fine,” he said. “I talked to the other councillors last week and everything was great. Just moving forward is what we have to do.”
Allin said the biggest priority for him working with council is to set the strategic direction.
“The mayor and I talked today about clearing the air in the community, making sure the community moves forward,” he said. “We need to move forward because we’ve been fractured.”
Mayor Frank Konrad said the negotiations with Allin went very well and he’s looking forward to working with the former CAO.
“The importance of that is, as in any community, the city needs a CAO,” said Konrad. “Not to take anything away from our acting CAO (Diane Heinrich), she did a wonderful job. We need a CAO who has experience in the position.”
Konrad said he has never formerly worked with Allin but was able to sit down briefly with him Monday morning. “I’m looking forward to the experience of working with him because he does possess a lot of qualities for his profession,” said Konrad.
With the hiring of Allin, Heinrich will return to her role as corporate officer and Sarah Winton will return to her role as deputy corporate officer/communications.