Colleen Jensen retires after 26 years on the job

Red Deer’s Director of Community Services, Colleen Jensen has announced her official retirement but said she looks forward to the future.

“There is certainly a sense of happiness and perhaps even relief to some extent on some of the things I’m leaving behind.”

Jensen added laughing, that one of the interesting things she will be leaving behind is the budget.

“Budget is not one of the things I think I will miss very much when I leave.”

However, she said there is a sense of sadness in retiring from working with the City particularly the people she has worked alongside.

“She will be missed by her peers for her sense of humour and the way in which she has treated our finance staff over the years,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.

Jensen has worked with three mayors in her 26 years with the City including Mayor Robert McGhee, Mayor Gail Surkan and Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

“I also got to work with Acting Mayor Lynne Mulder when I was acting City manager. This is when I did some work that helped facilitate coming to an agreement between the City and the County when they were looking at inter-municipal development.”

Jensen said that having been in the same organization for 26 years gave her a sense of comfort knowing that she was going to a place where there’s something good.

“That’s not to say every issue that arises is good along the way but at least you know the environment is good in which you will be working on those things.”

Also during her tenure with the City, Jensen had the opportunity to work with three City managers including Mike Day, Norbert Van Wyk and Craig Curtis.

“When you think only three mayors and City managers over 26 years that’s pretty consistent and not a lot of change in the organization.”

Jensen said the small number of mayors and City managers stands to show the consistency and the commitment inside the organization.

“I think that the consistency and commitment you see in the people who work with the City is one of the things that has given us some really sound planning and opportunity to move forward with some really good outcomes.”

Jensen also did a lot of work with various municipalities in her time and said that it was an eye-opening experience.

“I often came back to Red Deer and thought ‘I’m so glad I work for the City of Red Deer’ because I saw how things worked in other municipalities.”

Jensen would like to take a couple months off of work to “re-group” and then come back and help with City planning and community issues.

“I think I’m going to be moving from one ‘E’ to another; from employee to expert. Contractors seem to be known as experts, self appointed in some cases.”

Jensen said she will be leaving her position with a great sense of satisfaction in terms of the work she has been able to do. Some of the work she is proud of includes the work done with the Family and Community Support Service Program.

“Along with other municipalities we worked together to rebuild the family and community support services program and reinstate some sound funding for that.”

Jensen said Red Deer has always shown itself to have an open door policy and a willingness to work through things to come to a resolution in the end that serves most people’s needs fairly well.

“I think when you look at Red Deer as a community we have a good track record as being able to work together and I will miss being able to be a part of that.”