School district names new secretary-treasurer

School district optimistic that latest hire will end the revolving door of the senior staff position.

The Chilliwack school district has announced that a new secretary-treasurer will join next week, the sixth person to fill the position in 10 years.

The revolving door at the office has been a concern, as has been the lack of formal financial accreditation among those filling the seat.

Retired former secretary-treasurer Don Murray lambasted board members in May for failing to hire secretary-treasurers with sufficient knowledge of accounting practices. This has led to poor budget planning and deficit spending, he argued.

Newcomer Gerry Slykhuis, to start Sept. 3, is the first secretary-treasurer in some years with an accredited financial background. The certified management accountant brings with him eight years of experience as the secretary-treasurer for the Peace River South school district, as well as 14 years of accounting with the public health sector.

“He comes with a strong knowledge of education, and working with the Ministry of Education, but also has a strong finance background. We’re really looking forward to the expertise and knowledge that Gerry (Slykhuis) will be able to bring,” said school district superintendent Evelyn Novak.

The Chilliwack school board noted in a release that Slykhuis values creating positive relationships based on trust, and has “an honest, forthright approach to relationships.”

“I love building and working with a team of loyal, committed staff that puts excellent service for students at the forefront of everything they do,” the release quotes Slykhuis as saying.

The district’s former secretary-treasurer, Maureen Carradice, will return to human resource management.

“Her area of strength, that she has also identified, is that she would like to continue to be involved in more depth with human resources. And they were happy to have her,” said Novak. “Maureen’s well known in the province. Her knowledge and skills in the area of human resources is second to none. We’re thrilled that she’s in that position.”

Novak is optimistic that the short-term nature of the secretary-treasurer position is at an end.

“We have a really strong and stable team here at the district office, and I think that will stand us in good stead in the future for retention and having people settle into their positions and be here for the long term. So I’m optimistic that we will have consistent long term leadership.”