The Chilliwack school board has hired an experienced secretary-treasurer from the Peace River South school district to be its sixth CFO in 10 years.
Effective Sept. 3, Gerry Slykhuis will take over from current secretary-treasurer Maureen Carradice, who will step back into her former role as director of human resources after almost three years at the helm of the district's finances.
Slykhuis has spent eight years as the top moneyman in School District No. 59, a district with almost 4,000 students, 22 schools and a $50 million operating budget in 2012-13-compared to Chilliwack's nearly 13,000 students, 31 schools and $108 million budget.
He also has 14 years of experience in public sector health region accounting, last serving as the regional director of accounting services for the Northern Health Authority "We are excited to have Gerry come to the Chilliwack school district as part of our team as he brings an extensive successful background in finance and administration, but also has an excellent understanding of education issues," Chilliwack superintendent Evelyn Novak said in a press release posted on the School District No. 33 website last week. "Gerry brings a strong vision for the important role that operations, finance and administrative services can bring to supporting students and student learning. "Slykhuis is a qualified Certified Management Accountant, which should assuage concerns raised by retired Chilliwack secretary-treasurer Don Murray in May.
Murray, who retired in 2003 after nine years as secretary-treasurer, blasted the board after a budget presentation for deficit spending and for not requiring its CFO to have an accounting designation.
None of the district's last three secretary-treasurers had an accounting designation.
"They're the chief financial officer," Murray told the Times in May. "You want the chief financial officer to know some accounting practices and principles and how to balance a budget."
The Chilliwack school district hired a consultant to find its new CFO and part of its criteria for candidates was that they have an accounting designation.
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