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CAO bids a fond farewell as she heads into retirement

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
August 16th, 2012

Few jobs can hold as many satisfactions and challenges as the one Lynne Burch has held.

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of Grand Forks has been working for the municipality for the past 25 years, the final three as the CAO of our dynamic community.

Burch is set to retire November 3.

“There are a lot of things I enjoy about the job,” said Burch. “But the primary reasons I like it is because you are in the position to serve the public and positively help people.”

“(The CAO job) is about human resources. It’s like being the quarterback of a football team. Your efforts challenge or inspire.”

During her 25 years, 20 of those as the city clerk, Burch has worked with five different mayors.

She’s also seen a lot of changes both technically — when she started working at the city there was no internet or fax machines, just electronic typewriters — and within the city itself. Many of those projects are memorable but the one she is most proud of is the skate board park built in 2004.

“I learned more about different cement finishes and from the kids about ramps, rails and pipes than I ever knew existed,” said Burch. “Young people were helping and involved in the project. The project was on time and on budget. That project has added an ammenty to our community.”

The first land development project she was involved was also a memorable one for Burch. As a brand new municipal clerk she was involved in developing the old CPR station, which is now the Station Pub. She worked in getting the zoning issues resolved around the project and is proud to see the land continues to benefit the community.

One of her greatest challenges was in 2002 when city hall staff were forced to evacuate the city hall for nearly a year when asbestos was discovered.

“We were removed from the building and had to set up shop with no equipment and nothing to work with because everything had to be left behind,” said Burch.

Grand Forks mayor Brian Taylor has worked with Burch since he was first elected in 1997. At that time Burch was a city clerk. He remembers when she ran the city office for nearly a year without a CAO.

It’s that kind of dedication and devotion to the community Taylor most admires about her.

“A lot of CAOs have come through, but Lynne is the only one with a grounding in the community and who cared for the long-term care of the community.”

“Very few people could have pulled off the kind of planning she has done,” continued Taylor. “She has been setting the city up for a future as a responsible business.”

Burch’s last day will be November 2. While she has no specific retirement plans, the one at the top of her list is to catch up on sleep and to spend some quality time with her six grandchildren.

“I look forward to serving the community but in a different capacity,” she said.

Doug Allin to take the helm this fall

Doug Allin will be starting his new job as the Grand Forks CAO October 15.

Allin is currently the director of operations for the District of Peachland.

For Allin a move to Grand Forks benefits both him, his wife and their two children.

“We’ve spent time in the community and think it is beautiful,” said Allin, of what attracted him to the job. “I know the history of the council and the issues.”

He brings more than 20 years of experience in working within municipalities, including positions as a public works administrator and is one of only a few people in BC who holds a level 4 in water operations.

“I like everything about the job,” said Allin of working for the City of Grand Forks. “Local government changes every day and there is always something new.”

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