Rob Hutchins is trading in one form of public service for another.
The long-time educator will retire from his career as a school counsellor after being selected as chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District board last Wednesday.
The Ladysmith mayor was nominated for the CVRD’s top spot — held for the past two years by Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles — by Lake Cowichan Director Tim McGonigle.
Hutchins was unsuccessfully challenged by Duncan Director Phil Kent, who was nominated by Sahtlam Director Loren Duncan.
Kent nominated second-term Cowichan Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo for vice-chair of the board. She was unopposed.
In a speech before the selection of a new chair took place, Hutchins spoke about the work to come at the board table.
“We need to complete our two-way communication plan. When this organization has stumbled — and we have stumbled — it is largely due to our failure to adequately engage the citizens we serve,” he said. “We need to improve our practices at this board table. No decision of this board should be made without every one of us having a full understanding of the matter at hand, and we weigh the consequences of our decisions.
“Knowledge held by one of us should be knowledge shared by all.”