Tina Douglas, the newest Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Outlook & RM of Rudy, has quite a bit of professional history working in levels of government, and while her newest position is sure to bring its own unique set of challenges, it’s something that Douglas says she’s willing to meet.
“I spent 18-19 years in municipal government, spending a fair bit of time in the Weyburn area,” said Tina, sitting down with The Outlook. “Since I’ve been an administrator, I’ve been a municipal advisor with the province, and I worked with the RM of Sherwood, which is the municipality that encompasses the city of Regina. So I’ve had a lot of experience and had access to a lot of resources that have helped me in my career. Being in Regina, it was beneficial to have a direct line to the Ministry of Government Relations.”
Originally from Foam Lake, the position of C.A.O. for Outlook/Rudy was something that Tina had wanted to pursue earlier this year. When circumstances ended up making it available once again, she gladly threw her name into the ring.
“When the Town of Outlook and RM of Rudy position came up the first time, I believe this was when Dean (Pickering) was hired, I wanted to apply at that time, but I still had my acreage at Foam Lake to take care of,” she said. “When it showed up again, I took the opportunity. Maybe it was meant to be!”
As someone who enjoys this level of work, Douglas says it’s a job that always keeps you on your toes because you never seem to have the same day twice and there’s always something that allows one to continue learning in their professional field. Her upbringing and rural lifestyle, combined with having a parent who was also very community-oriented, are two things that she believes led her down the path towards serving residents and ratepayers in a municipal role.
“I’m very passionate about municipal administration, and I’m a very loyal employee,” she said. “You never do the same thing twice and you’re learning all the time; everything’s a learning experience. The best thing about it is that you contribute to the well-being of the community, and you have a direct impact on what happens. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. My dad was very much a community-spirited man; he was on every board there was, and I was raised in that kind of atmosphere, and so it became kind of a natural path for me to get into municipal government.”
Douglas is well aware of the challenges that come with her position, whether it’s to do with fellow staff or working alongside elected officials to come up with the best decisions for the community that one serves.
“There are many challenges,” she said. “Personnel challenges, challenges with council or changing legislation, financial challenges like trying to ensure that everyone understands what we’re responsible for. I feel that if you maintain a fair level of service that there’s more of an understanding between you and the ratepayers. Unfortunately, councils are faced with some challenges and it’s difficult to make hard decisions. Coming in three quarters through the year is a little difficult, but it’s really a challenge everyday.”
Although Tina only started her new job on August 20, she’s already enjoying life in Outlook and appreciates what the town has to offer its residents.
“I love Outlook, and I always have,” she said. “I’m very fortunate to have one of those units overlooking the river and I really enjoy that. I don’t know if there’s anything more in this community that a person needs. I really like the community, and it looks like there are plenty of services and groups. I’ve lived in some very small communities where I’ve had to drive miles to get to a decent grocery store, so you really appreciate when you have that service in the community you’re living in.”
For Douglas, her goal is to do the best work possible in her role while also helping to lift others in their own professional growth.
“I’ve always had a goal to be the best person I can be in my position,” she said. “I’ve put an awful lot of effort into my career and work, and my goal here is to be successful and gain the respect of my colleagues and community, and also to be a *part* of the community. You continually have to learn. For me, that gives me my personal satisfaction; when I see other people succeed.”
The role of any good Chief Administrative Officer in Tina’s view is to always be in the moment and work to be able to address anything that comes your way. It’s also a position that allows one to perhaps learn something new every day.
“To be present,” she said. “To have compassion, to be fair and knowledgeable, and to be strong. It’s tough sometimes, but that’s what I achieve to be. The financial management is a very important aspect, obviously, and so you need to be financially responsible. You also need to be honest and approachable, and to have the knowledge to address the issues that come up from time to time. I like working at a higher level because it energizes me, and I enjoy working with legislation. The more I can learn, the more I like it, and I hope to pass things on. I’m really excited to be here.”