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CAO Hoggan Resigns

Rocky View’s Chief Administrative Officer, Al Hoggan, has apparently resigned his RVC position and will be moving to Bonnyville to take up the CAO position there. We say “apparently” because there has been no official announcement about Hoggan’s resignation. Instead, the news was shared by a developer lobby group, Rocky View 2020, in an email sent to its members yesterday. It is not clear whether Hoggan is heading to the Town or Municipal District of Bonnyville. Whichever it is, we would consider it a step down in the provincial CAO hierarchy.

The fact that Hoggan’s resignation was announced by the developers’ lead lobbyist rather than by the County graphically illustrates the far too close ties between Hoggan and the County’s developers. It has long been rumoured that he spent an inordinate amount of time meeting with these individuals. The developers’ lobby group has often released emails that relied on apparently not-yet public information. This leaves open the question of just how deeply entrenched Hoggan has been in the developers’ business.

Hoggan’s providing details of his resignation directly to the developers’ lobbyist is a major dereliction of duty to his current employer. Employees have a responsibility to permit their employer to manage the news of their departure. From what Councillor Kissel stated, it appears that Hoggan hadn’t even spoken directly with council, his employer, before the news of his resignation was released.

After being hired through a questionable hiring process and a short 2-year tenure, Hoggan’s resignation raises the question of why he is leaving now. He has presided over a thoroughly dysfunctional council with the majority on council refusing to put behind them the divisiveness created when Hoggan and then council sanctioned the three frequently dissenting voices on council. He has also overseen an administration that has been racked by massive turnover. Maybe he has become tired of all that dysfunction – but, in the past he appeared to revel in it.

In looking at what has been accomplished during his tenure, it is hard to identify many concrete, positive achievements. Under Hoggan’s leadership, the County Plan was decimated as were many planning documents including the Springbank ASPs; council was facilitated in spending $9.6 million to punch water/wastewater pipes to west Balzac, and work was undertaken on many developer-funded ASPs promoting specific landowners’ desires to fast-track the development of their land. If this is what is meant by the County “getting to yes”, is this really what we need?

It will be interesting to see how council deals with his defection. We can only hope that they have learned from their past mistakes and will employ a best-practices approach to hiring Hoggan’s replacement. From our perspective, a proper approach will be sufficiently time consuming that it would be inappropriate for this council to attempt to appoint a replacement before the October election – a responsibility that should be left to the new council.


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