Moose Jaw is a tight-knit community.
Though new arrivals are graciously welcomed into the Friendly City, they’re still considered outsiders.
Part of that comes from the prairie mentality: neighbours are an extension of family.
In a city of just more than 33,000 people, the community fabric is basically sacred.
The editorial staff at the Times-Herald (comprised primarily of outsiders) routinely witnesses examples of how much Moose Javians care about their city and fellow citizens.
We see how invested the community is in the structure and execution of city council. Though people in this city might be hard-pressed to reveal an opinion on federal or international politics, everyone in Moose Jaw has an opinion on how the city is run.
We’re about to be reminded of how a newcomer is received under that same microscope.
The city was searching for a new city manager for more than two months, since the contract with Garry McKay was severed.
McKay is originally from Ontario and he handled all the criticism that came with his high-profile position until city council decided it was time for new leadership.
Times-Herald council beat reporter Lisa Goudy broke the story on Wednesday morning that the city had finally found McKay’s replacement.
Matt Noble was chief administrative officer in Merritt, B.C. for the past three years and was the city manager in Swift Current for nine years. He’s also a certified management accountant with experience in various topics applicable to his newest position.
Noble’s resume is impressive. On paper – and backed by Mayor Deb Higgins in a press release – he’s a solid hire.
He’s also not from Moose Jaw.
Not all job vacancies can be filled from within. It’s common to have to hire people from all over the country.
The goal is not to hire the closest person; the goal is to get the best person for the job.
Moose Jaw’s population is double Swift Current’s and is five times more than Merritt’s.
This position is a step up in Noble’s career.
If he is able to adapt to the pace of Moose Jaw and is able to meet the demands of its civilians, Noble may have a long and successful tenure as the city manager here.
That is, if the fine people of Moose Jaw give him a chance.
All editorials are written by the Times-Herald editorial staff.