Cathy Cowan

One of the longest-serving chief administrative officers in the region has announced she’s retiring at the end of June.

Cathy Cowan is now winding down a long career in local government that included 21 years at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, followed by stints with the Village of Keremeos and Town of Oliver, where she’s held the top job since 2016.

“During my time in local government, I have been fortunate enough to accomplish many career goals, and over the past few years I had the privilege and opportunity to work with an excellent team in Oliver,” Cowan said in a press release.

"After 30 years working in local government, including nearly 10 years with the Town of Oliver as the corporate officer and CAO, I have decided that it is time for me to retire from public service and spend more time with my family, volunteering and travelling (once we get the OK).”

Mayor Martin Johansen noted in the release that some of Cowan’s best work came in response to the pandemic and “ensured Oliver is well-positioned financially to manage the immediate challenges of COVID-19 and plan for economic recovery in the future.

“Cathy’s legacy includes excellent working relationships with all levels of government, including the Osoyoos Indian Band, along with plans and documents to guide the community in the development of the downtown and Station Street.”

Bill Newell is the region’s longest-serving CAO, having been at the RDOS since 2008. Next on the list is Penticton city manager Donny van Dyk, who will celebrate two years’ service in February.