Castor CAO finishes 39-year career

As Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sandy Jackson leaves her position at the Castor Town Office for retirement, as Christopher Robblee, left, enters taking her place. Jackson has witnessed 14 different councils and numerous changes around town after 39 years of employment. ECA review/T.Huxley

Sandy Jackson has concluded a 39-year career with the Town of Castor.

She originally began as Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and then transitioned into CAO ten years ago.

Jackson began her career with the town almost immediately after finishing her studies at Reeves College in Red Deer.

She studied to be in paralegal administration but fate had other plans.

“It just so happened that I was just finishing and so I got this job. The timing was perfect,” she said.

Over the years, Jackson has seen it all, including the change in town office buildings and community hall.

The previous office building is located next to the current facility but was very close quarters as the fire hall, two administrators, and public works were sharing the space for a short time.

“It was a little crowded,” she said.

Then the County of Paintearth built their new building near Highway 12 in 2010, allowing the town an opportunity to take over the building. Now, most of the offices are utilized.

“The biggest change from when I started was that we had one electric typewriter – no computers. There’s just a big NCR posting machine that we did all the utility bills by hand and everything by hand which balanced everything. Like all of our financial ledgers were balanced by calculating so we went from that to computers and I think we brought those in 1984. However, there is far more paperwork now than there was back in 1980,” said Jackson.

As for council, the veteran CAO has seen turnover of 14 different councils altogether.

Her favourite part of being CAO with the town was the various beautification projects including horticulture, the pathways connected throughout the park and the recently constructed Community Centre.

The most valuable skill she has acquired came down to working with the public.

“The anticipation of knowing that something is not going to go well and you better be prepared because some people aren’t going to be happy,” she said. “That to me is one of the more important roles in a town office is to work with the public.”

Jackson now has time to spend tending to her garden, travelling, and volunteering thanks to retirement.

One of the things, she is looking forward to is dedicating more time to the Castor Legion for a special World War 1 and World War 2 mural of the fallen soldiers.

“All together there are 39 fallen soldiers between World War 1 and 2 and we have been getting plaques with their pictures and we are hanging them in the Legion,” she said.

She also teaches Aquafit in the summer months, a passion of hers for the past 13 years.

As for winter activities, she will follow many snowbirds south to vacation and soak in the sun rays.

Jackson

Taking her place is Christopher Robblee, a skilled man in both the public and private sector with multiple years of education and experience to add to the town.

“I know the staff that is here right now are all good. They are young. They’re going to do really well and I think the town is in really good hands, both council and staff,” said Jackson.

“He and I are different but what I think the province needs now and what they are really focusing on is governance in the municipalities and that’s his strong suit.”

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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