LAC LA BICHE - Over the last several years, Dan Small has moved from a senior administrator to an associate CAO, to the Acting Interim CAO — and now, the veteran of more than a decade with Lac La Biche County's administrative crew is the newest Chief Administrative Officer for the municipality.
Small officially went to the big role on Tuesday, following several months of advertising and interviews for the position that oversees all administrative operations of the municipality. The CAO is also the only direct employee of the elected council. The role was vacated last December after council opted not to extend the one-year contract of the former CAO.
Small started working at Lac La Biche County in 2012, leaving his role as the CAO of Thorhild County. A chartered professional accountant by trade, Small also has also had experience in the oil and gas industry. During his years in varying administrative roles for Lac La Biche County, he has been closely involved with finance, planning, grant applications and land use. Small is also said to have lead the municipal efforts in its transition to a specialized municipality in 2018.
Small is the fourth CAO hired by Lac La Biche County council in 10 years. Prior to Tuesday's decision, Small had held the interim or acting CAO role several times during absences of the administrative boss.
“Council and I were impressed with Mr. Small’s leadership when he took on the acting CAO role, along with his strong ties to the community,” says Mayor Paul Reutov. “Mr. Small has played an active part in Lac La Biche County’s growth over the last few years, and we’re confident in his ability to carry out council’s ambitious new vision and strategic goals.”
With Small having experience within the County ranks, Reutov said less time will be spent in the welcome period into the new role.
"We can move forward without a learning curve," said the Mayor, telling Small at last Tuesday's public meeting, that he had "big shoes to fill."
Councillors voted 8-1 in favour of appointing Small to the position. Only councillor Darlene Beniuk was opposed.
Following some applause from council and staff present at Tuesday's public meeting, Small remained modest, joking, "The applause is a little premature — I haven't done anything yet."
In a prepared statement released after his appointment, Small said he was looking forward to building on the strong foundations within the community and the growing number of external connections.
“Lac La Biche County is a shining example of innovative local government and is gradually being looked upon as a leader in Alberta,” noted Small in a release issued by the municipality. “I’m looking forward to continuing to implement Council’s strategic direction in collaboration with our communities, my colleagues, and the public.”
Small lives in Lac La Biche County and continues to manage a family farm near Radway.
Ken Van Buul, the former Chief Administrator replaced by Small, is now the CAO in Redwater.
Small's CAO contract is based on a four-year term, requiring renewal in June of 2026.