October 12, 2017 7:57 pm

Lethbridge city manager announces retirement at unusual time, says former CAO

WATCH: Lethbridge city manager Garth Sherwin announced his retirement less than a week before the municipal election, raising questions on the timing. Joe Scarpelli reports.

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After 32 years with the City of Lethbridge and nine years in his current job as city manager, Garth Sherwin announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Questions surrounding the timing are now surfacing as a municipal election is less than a week away.

“It’s highly unusual, it raises all kinds of questions to motivation and why?” said Bonnie Farries, a political analyst and former CAO for the Village of Warner and Town of Coaldale.

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According to a source who asked not to be named, within the past two years, Sherwin told the current council he would not retire during an election year.

Global News wasn’t granted an interview with Sherwin on Thursday, instead being referred to a comment he made on Tuesday.

“There’s never really a good time to retire,” Sherwin said after announcing his retirement. “Matching my term with the end of a council term is good timing. It allows the new administration and new council to work together on their strategic plan and move forward.”

Farries doesn’t necessarily agree.

“For a CAO to resign prior to an election creates additional instability which reverberates throughout the entire organization because not only do they now have to look forward to a new council, but who’s going to lead that council? Who’s going to guide them?” she said.

Farries said the worst thing that could happen is if council rushes to fill the position prematurely.

“What they really should do is recreate stability, which means they need to get an interim CAO selected and in place stat.”

Sherwin’s last day is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2018. The city said it will be up to the next council to develop and oversee the hiring process of a new manager. There is no timeline on how long that will take.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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