Burns Lake council has banned the village’s chief administrative officer (CAO) from answering media questions, which has always been a part of her regular duties.
“Our current process is that council will be reviewing and responding to all media requests,” explained Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach. “This may take a bit longer for replies.”
Lakes District News asked Mayor Beach what was the purpose of making this decision. Now media questions have to be directed to council, who may have to check the answers with village staff, who would then report back to council, who would then respond to the media. Mayor Beach did not respond to this question by press time.
Burns Lake’s CAO Sheryl Worthing returned to work on Sept. 21 after being absent for several weeks.
During her absence, council appointed a different staff member every two weeks to fulfill her duties. This decision drew criticism from some community members, including former Burns Lake Mayor Bernice Magee, who said that asking current employees to assume the role of CAO was “very disturbing.”
Under the direction of mayor and council, the CAO is responsible for the overall management of all operations of the municipality and has direct responsibility for all staff.