OLDS — Mitch Thomson says he plans to retain his post as a town councillor despite the fact he now works as executive director of the Red Deer and District Food Bank (RDDFB).
However, Thomson says as a result of the new job, he won’t be able to spend as much time running Acorn Energy, a small Calgary-based company that sells electricity and natural gas that he and his wife Jennifer bought earlier this year. So he’s in the throes of hiring some people to help out.
Meanwhile, Thomson said, he and Jennifer are “evaluating” another business they operate – the Mountain View Child Care Society – to see what its future will be after the COVID-19 pandemic and the provincial government’s decision to cut a child-care subsidy program brought in by the previous NDP government.
Thomson has been executive director of the RDDFB for about a month now. He and Jennifer bought e.NRG Services and renamed it Acorn Energy/Residential this past February.
Before that, he had been executive director of the Olds Institute for seven years until he and that organization parted ways Dec. 31 last year.
During an interview, Thomson said he and his family plan to continue living in Olds and he will commute to Red Deer.
“I have the good fortune of a supportive board that supports me in the various roles that I have,” he said.
"I am the executive director here. I retain and still am able to continue my council position in the community of Olds and my family and I are happy living where we are and me doing a little bit of driving.”
Thomson was asked if he plans to remain as a member of town council. He said he does, at least until his current term expires this October. He said he hasn’t yet decided whether he will run for a second term.
“I’m definitely going to finish my term. I’m still considering what the future looks like,” he said.
“Again, I’m not going to commit to anything that I can’t properly fulfill. And being that I’ve only been here a month, it would be foolish for me to say that I’m going to give up or run again without having a little more time under my belt.”
Thomson is confident that provincial legislation allows him to work in one community and serving as a councillor in another.
“It is acceptable and quite common. It poses no concern at all,” he wrote in an email.
Michael Merritt, the town’s chief administrative officer, backed up that position in another email.
“That would not be a factor in his eligibility to run. A change in residency if outside of Olds would,” Merritt wrote.