COMMITMENT - Longtime Lacombe Chief Administrative Officer Norma MacQuarrie posed for a photo in front of the City crest at City Hall. MacQuarrie

COMMITMENT - Longtime Lacombe Chief Administrative Officer Norma MacQuarrie posed for a photo in front of the City crest at City Hall. MacQuarrie

City of Lacombe’s CAO is set to retire next spring

Norma MacQuarrie reflects on her longtime municipal career

  • Jun. 30, 2016 6:00 a.m.

BY ERIN FAWCETT

Lacombe Express

City of Lacombe’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Norma MacQuarrie will be leaving her post next spring.

MacQuarrie will retire on March 23rd after 35 years of municipal service including her current tenure as the senior administrator for the City of Lacombe. She has been with the City for more than five years now.

“It’s a new chapter in life and I think it’s a chapter that we work towards for a lifetime and it presents opportunities that you can’t pursue when you are working,” she said. “It has been my privilege to work with council and a team of employees who over the past six years continually worked hard to make our City a healthy, safe and welcoming place for all through the delivery of high quality programs and services. It is abundantly clear to me that success culminates from the team’s collective talents and contributions, and I cannot think of another group of people who I would rather end my municipal career with.”

MacQuarrie, who is originally from Ontario, had an interest in municipal government from an early age. “I started my career in municipal government in Ontario in my youth. I worked as a playground supervisor in my youth as a summer job,” she said. “I was always a very avid participant in various recreation activities and it fit very well for me to accept a job of that nature.”

MacQuarrie attended Seneca College in Toronto where she completed her recreation diploma. She also later completed her executive MBA from Athabasca University in 1999.

“I started on the community services side and I worked in programming positions through to directorships on the community services side,” she said. “I had a personal passion for recreation, for community development and recognizing that it is crucial to our municipalities. I followed my passion and that led me to start to evolve and grow and become more familiar with other aspects of municipal government and I gradually assumed more responsibility as I changed jobs.”

MacQuarrie has helmed the City through a very busy and productive period in Lacombe, with significant investment in civic infrastructure, governance frameworks and municipal programs and services. She has overseen a wide variety of projects including the completion of the Hwy. 2A upgrades and 34th Street improvements; the City of Lacombe corporate branding project; the inception of a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department; the creation of City of Lacombe Strategic Plan and strategic planning process; the introduction of a 10-Year Capital Plan; establishing a Recreation and Culture Master Plan and Greenspace Management Plan; the Fairview Cemetery expansion; the development and adoption of a corporate communications and marketing plan and much more.

“When I think of highlights the things that most impress me are the people I work with and the way those people have evolved and developed. Certainly over the years I have been involved with building buildings to introducing programs and services but it’s really watching people and serving as a mentor and coach to people to where they become confident in their abilities and that is probably one of the more rewarding aspects of the job.

“Another rewarding aspect will be that oftentimes people bring issues to you and you have the opportunity to work with them on those. That is something that I will miss being able to collaboratively work through, in some cases significant issues, and bring them to resolution and see the benefit that is derived from that by the community and by the people involved.”

As for Lacombe as a community, MacQuarrie said there is much to love about the City.

“There are a number of things that I enjoy about Lacombe, not the least of which the people that I am surrounded by and the desire of those people to continuously learn and move forward,” she said. “Lacombe has done an exceptional job of preserving the heritage in the community. Other municipalities in Alberta certainly look to Lacombe to share information on our Heritage Management Program. Lacombe really stands out in Alberta in that respect.

“I like that there has been a conscious effort to preserve green space in this community and to recognize the value that green space and natural spaces bring to the community. There is a real push now to ensure our trail system is a connected network recognizing these are the features that are going to attract people to live in this community.”

MacQuarrie was also recently recognized by the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA) with a Long Service Award, acknowledging 25 years of service in a senior management role in municipal government. The award celebrates her dedication to public service and commitment to excellence in municipal management and for helping to improve the municipal profession.

“There have always been new challenges and I think the old adage that everyday is different really applies to this particular role,” she said.

Meanwhile, looking ahead to next year, MacQuarrie said she plans on taking some time after she retires to travel. She does plan to reside in Lacombe and looks forward to staying involved in the community in some capacity.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney says the provincial government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Most Read