Cranbrook’s former mayor Scott Manjak has taken a position on the opposite side of the gavel.
Manjak started work on Tuesday, July 2 as the Chief Operating Officer at ?aq’am (St. Mary’s Band).
“As the Chief Operating Officer I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the St. Mary’s administration and government, and I also work with Chief (Jim) Whitehead and council on council initiatives, very similar to a local government role,” Manjak explained.
Since leaving office as Cranbrook’s mayor in November 2011, Scott and his wife Raeleen relocated to Sparwood. Manjak set up a consulting business, and through this he began to work with the ?aq’am community.
“There were some staffing changes internally and through those changes they approached me and asked if I was interested in filling this position on a one-year basis while some of their staff were away,” said Manjak.
The position will build on relationships Manjak developed with the community during his time as mayor.
“When I was mayor we did quite a bit of work with the St. Mary’s community and council under the previous Chief Cheryl Casimer. We had council-to-council meetings on a quarterly basis with the community,” he said.
“During my time in Cranbrook I created some really close friendships in the St. Mary’s community so it’s such a good opportunity to work with folks that I really respect and appreciate.”
It will be interesting to see how a local government is run from a different perspective, Manjak went on.
“It’s very interesting because you get to see a different side than I have before. In my previous role, mayor and council would make policy decisions and set direction of where we felt the community wanted to go and then it was up to staff to put those practices and policies in place. Now, being responsible for implementation, I have an appreciation of how the decisions were made and what some of the pressures were. So it seems like a natural fit to me.”
Because the position has a 12-month term, Manjak will commute to ?aq’am from his home in Sparwood, where his wife works for the district as Director of Corporate Services.