City council has appointed Saundra Arberry as the newest administrative review officer (ARO), a position designed to investigate public complaints about how city hall administrates the City of Moose Jaw.
Council unanimously named Arberry to the post during the Feb. 1 regular council meeting. Her two-year term starts immediately and concludes on Dec. 31, 2022.
David Foley was the previous administrative review officer.
This position has received fewer than three complaints from residents each year since 2003. According to city administration, there were zero complaints last year, one in 2019 and two in 2018.
The position operates similar to an ombudsman who gives complainants an avenue to air their concerns when they feel that city administration has not managed their concern appropriately. This is a process followed when there are no other form of appeal available to the complainants.
The ARO position became available in the fall, and after advertising for the position, the city clerk’s office received three applications, a council report explained. On Jan. 6, the interview committee — consisting of councillors Dawn Luhning, Jamey Logan and Kim Robinson — spoke with the applicants via video conferencing.
“All three candidates possessed excellent credentials. On conclusion of interviews, the interview committee unanimously recommends Ms. Saundra Arberry be appointed as the ARO,” the report said. “She has an intimate familiarity with the interview process; sensitivity to citizens; and extensive experience with government rules and regulations.”
Arberry is the deputy registrar with the provincial Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists and has worked there since its inception in 2015. In 2011, she moved to Regina to work as an electoral management consultant for Elections Saskatchewan after spending more than 20 years in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Before moving to Regina, Arberry worked in the Northwest Territories’ court system and then as the chief electoral officer for Elections NWT.
For the work done, the ARO is paid a daily remuneration in the amount that is two times the daily per diem rate that members of city council receive. Since the current per diem rate is $161.30 per day, Arberry would receive $322.60 for her work.
Logan said all the candidates who applied were great, while the three finalists were also tremendous. The decision of who to choose was tough, but Arberry was well-spoken and had plenty of experience, while her current job is similar to the ARO role.
Another quality Logan liked was how Arberry does not live in Moose Jaw.
“(She’ll be) looking at each of these individual items from an outside point of view. In this particular instance, I do believe that’s important,” he said. “She’s going to look at it from an outside perspective and not have a formed opinion before hearing the story in the report. To me, that was also very important.
“I think she’s going to do a great job.”
Mayor Fraser Tolmie thanked Foley for his work during the past few years and noted that he would be missed. However, the mayor looked forward to Arberry joining the team.
The next regular council meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 16.