It’s been just over two weeks since Robert Long was hired as the City of Prince Rupert’s new chief administrative officer (CAO), and the new city manager has been reacquainting himself to his home town.
Long said it feels great to be back in Prince Rupert, where he was born. Long’s father was also born in Prince Rupert, with his grandma and grandpa living in the community for most of their lives. Long said his great-grandfather is even buried in Fairview Cemetery, so his family has a history in the community.
When Long was approximately 10 years old he and his family moved away, but he returned to Prince Rupert in the summers to work.
“I spent quite a number of summers here going fishing, working in the fish plants, net-mending and doing all the regular stuff you did at that time, and I loved it,” Long said, adding he loves sport fishing and hopes to do some this summer.
Long said he hadn’t necessarily planned to return to Prince Rupert, but the CAO position popped up at an appropriate time.
“It seemed like a good place to come. There’s lots of action, activity and interest,” he said.
Long is currently familiarizing himself to the community, getting to know city staff and learning what council would like him to move forward with going into what he calls an “exciting” period for Prince Rupert.
“My long term goals will follow along with what council would like. My job is to deliver council’s vision for the community,” Long said.
Long said he sees a municipality’s job as two fold: To deliver quality municipal services such as sewer, water and roads, but at the same time be a manifestation of the goals and objectives that the council wants the community to become.
One of the first objectives council is requesting of Long is to find a new permanent chief financial officer, a process Long said is coming along well.
“I’m hoping that we can make some announcements quickly… I want to run by what happens next with council, and hopefully we’ll make an announcement in the near future,” he said.
Part of the appeal of hiring Long for the city is his experience, being he has spent more than two decades working as CAO for regional districts and municipalities.
“I’ve got quite a few years of local government experience. I’m hoping to bring that experience in other communities to the job. Hopefully I can add my expertise to the mix and help the community succeed,” he said.