Thursday, July 31, 2008

Alberta's Senior Civil Servant - Ron Hicks - Calls it Quits

Ron Hick's, Deputy Minister of Executive Council for the Government of Alberta is resigning effective September 5, 2008. One of the finest and most effective public servants I have ever worked with is calling it quits. This is a sad and unnerving day for good government in Alberta.

My mother used to say the graveyard is full of indispensable people. While that is true, this senior administrative retirement is one of a number of key losses to the Stelmach government as of late.

Speculation over the reasons will be rampant but pointless. Stelmach's government is losing another good one in the senior ranks of the civil service.

I say another good one because Ron is one of four senior people to leave in the past week or two. Paddy Meade, a long serving Deputy Minister of Health and Wellness just moved to the new health superboard. Gerry Bourdeau, Deputy Minister of International and Intergovernmental Affairs retired yesterday as did Deputy Minister of Justice Terry Machett, who was appointed to serve on the Provincial Court yesterday.

This is worrisome for the new Stelmach government. Lots of good people left but the wisdom and experience of this level of talent is a serious loss to any Premier trying to reinvigorate what as been a lethargic governance model in the last years of Klein's regime.


  1. Anonymous10:41 pm

    Bring back Jack Davis.

  2. Justin9:37 am

    Hi Ken,

    Any insight into why Hicks left?

  3. Justin - I have no insight as to why Hick's quit but think he was doing a terrific job. My hope is Jay Ramotar - currently in Infrastructure and Transportation - becomes his replacement.

    He has worked as Stelmach's Deputy Minister in that department. He is another talented engineer with a real sense of how to make good pubic policy and how to make it work effectively.

    Still, I think the GOA is going to miss Hicks.

  4. Anonymous9:22 pm

    Ron Hicks had initially planned to retire around the time Klein was finishing his leadership term. But Mr. Hicks agreed to the Premier's request to stay on until after the next election to provide continuity of government and "institutional memory". He will be missed, but this was long in coming.

  5. Frankie11:43 am

    There has been some interesting ADM announcements as well. While the Deputy Ministers get the big bucks and the fancy offices, it's the Assistant Deputy Ministers that really make the world go round. ADMs actually know what can be accomplished and bring Ministers back down to earth.

  6. Jeff J.11:28 am

    I think your concern is well placed, and is something that should be addressed, because the loss of 4 high quality DM's is one thing, but just look at the current crop and see what will happen in the next 5-7 years, we'll lose double that amount.

    As someone under 30 I constantly hear comments about how badly upper management needs to begin preparing for their departure especially since 90% of those positions are filled with individuals nearing retirement. The question is, how do you inspire my generation who typically does not worry as much about "long-term job security" into positions in gov't bureaucracy where long-term is the nameof the game?

    Good call on Ramotar. I'd say his chances are 50-50, with Manning having the other side of those chances.