New Chief Administrative Officer Announced

Michael Simpson has been selected as the new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the County of Paintearth.

DCG Executive Search Services Ltd. was the hired headhunter for the position.

Having spent several years in the area during high school, Simpson brings a solid background in both the private and public sectors, as well as the intentions of living and raising his children within the county. Simpson grew up in counties like Athabasca County, Special Areas and Paintearth County.

He attended high school in Consort which was essentially his introduction to the area. He started his career out with ‘humble beginnings’ as a dishwasher.

From there, he dove into construction work before attending NAIT for radio communications. Construction and oil and gas operations became his chosen occupation sectors thereafter his studies. Simpson took a chance on a newspaper position in Vegreville which launched his media career before going back to construction.

Election time in 2013 was when Simpson made the decision to run for office after spending some years covering politics on the municipal side.

He began studying local government administration from the University of Alberta approximately four years ago. Simpson was two thirds through his course when an opportunity to become the CAO of the Village of Willingdon was presented.

The village was going through the process of dissolution which meant the village will become part of the County of Two Hills as it is not viable or strong enough to support itself any longer.

“It was a short-term gig but it was a really good learning experience,” said Simpson.

He spent a year before working at his current position as CAO with the Village of Ryley that has a population of 500.

“Working in Ryley has been a chance to work with five regional municipalities which are very similar to the role that I will be taking on in Paintearth as their administrator because, under the new intermunicipal collaborative frameworks, all of the five regional municipalities in my region currently have to have agreements for services and things that have been mandated by the province so I am getting a lot of experience with that here with a group that really knows how to work together.

“It makes me excited to go to Paintearth and slip into that stream and continue on where Tarolyn was setting the county up.”

Simpson considers himself a ‘doer’ which drew him to the work of administration.

“I spent so many years as a reporter just watching things happen that I decided to start doing these things instead of just talking about them. Putting my money where my mouth is so to speak,” said Simpson.

Coupled with his passion and desire to excel as an administrator, he is currently pursuing his Certified Local Government Managers (CLGM) designation.

With experience working not only locally, but regionally, council feels that Simpson will be a strong asset to administration, the county, and the region.

CAO Tarolyn Aaserud had left the county for a position in Nanton some time ago.

The County of Paintearth press release stated, “We are excited about continuing the momentum and we feel that with the addition of Simpson to the existing senior leadership team, the County of Paintearth will continue to be a municipality of choice.”

Simpson will be assuming his new role and responsibilities on Aug. 13, 2018.

“Sometimes there is something appealing about the chance to go back and work where you used to spend some time in your youth.

“I have great memories growing up in the area and so the chance to work at the county felt a little bit like a chance to come home.”


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

ECA Review

Our newspaper is only as good as its contributors and we thank each one who submits stories, photos and opinions. If you have a news item, photos or opinion to share please submit it to