An expert in housing among other policy subjects will become Central Saanich’s top bureaucrat in early October.
Christine Culham assumes the role of chief administrative officer (CAO) on Oct. 5. Culham joins the municipality from the Capital Regional District as a senior manager of the Capital Region Housing Corporation.
A subsidiary of the CRD, the CRHC mandate “is to develop and manage affordable housing to meet the needs of people living within the capital region.” In this role, it serves as the largest social housing provider in the region with 1,418 units spread across 46 complexes in seven municipalities.
Culham has also worked for the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation and as executive director for Ottawa Victim Services.
Mayor Ryan Windsor described Culham as a “proven leader” based on her career with the CRD as well as the non-profit sector. “She joins the district with a strong background in housing, having spent eight years leading the efforts at the Capital Regional District to expand affordable housing options in the region,” Windsor said. “She will make an excellent addition to our organization. I know the community will be excited to get to know Christine in her new role as CAO.”
A resident of Central Saanich herself, Culham said in a release that she looks forward to the role. “I am proud of my record in local and regional government, and I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Central Saanich – my home community.”
With Culham’s hiring, the municipality finds a permanent replacement for Patrick Robins, whose sudden departure in early February caused a stir.
Windsor at the time declined to discuss the details that led to Robins’ departure, but promised that the municipality remains in good hands.
Central Saanich announced in the morning hours of Feb. 11 that it would be the last day of work for Robins, who had been with the district since summer 2012.
“While there have been a lot of contributions made by Mr. Robins over the last seven-and-a-half years, council and Mr. Robins have come to a point where it is time to go in a different direction by mutual agreement,” said Windsor in an interview at the time.
According to Central Saanich’s latest statement of financial information (2018), Robins salary was $176,828. His settlement agreement sees Robins receive a one-time payment of $317,000.
“There is no risk of legal action on this matter,” said Windsor, when asked about language in the settlement agreement.
Former Saanich CAO Paul Murray has been serving as an interim CAO following Robins’ departure.
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