From a city life guard to city manager – it’s been a productive 38-year career with the City of Regina for Chris Holden, who city council is naming to the top administrative role.
Holden will take over as city manager from the previously departed Glen Davies, who left at the beginning of November 2015.
For Holden, being named city manager is one of the best days of his life.
“Next to my wedding day … and the birth of my daughters, this is it,” he announced Wednesday. “It really is a dream come true.”
“It’s not something that I ever aspired to achieve,” he admitted, but added when the opportunity came up he took it.
Holden has an extensive history working for the city. He started out as a part-time life guard while he was going to university. From there he worked as a permanent life guard instructor at the Lawson Aquatic Centre in the ’80s.
In 1986, he moved away from the front lines to more of the administrative side, working in a number of different departments: community services, parks and open space, engineering and works, and the city manager’s office. He’ll leave his most recent job as the city’s director of communications.
“He has a unique perspective. He’s actually had his whole career here with the city so his broad spectrum of experience shows he understands the services at the most basic level, the front line, up to the most administrative high executive level,” said Mayor Michael Fougere.
The mayor explained how several hundred people from around the country expressed interest in the position. With support from a national search firm, a search committee of five members of council ultimately made the choice.
“We believe very strongly we came up with the right choice,” Fougere insisted.
Holden believes his plethora of experience within Regina may have given him an advantage over the other candidates. He thinks the city is already headed in a strong direction and with his leadership he can make that even stronger. A crucial part of that relies on interaction with the public.
“We deliver strong customer service each and every day, but there’s always an opportunity to improve on that,” he said.
City council will need to ratify the appointment at its meeting on Feb. 29. Once that’s done, Holden will officially take over March 1. His agreement is in place for five years, compensated to begin with $260,000.