A series of staff changes and some new hires are in the works at Champlain Township.

The municipality is currently recruiting for a planner/economic developer position, following the departure of the township’s previous economic coordinator/communications coordinator, Jacques Des Becquets.

Champlain Township Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Paula Knudsen said that the township decided to create a new position when the municipality received word that the United Counties of Prescott-Russell would no longer be able to outsource planning services to Champlain Township on a part-time basis.

“We definitely need to have a planner in place by the beginning of the year,” said Knudsen, although, she added, the township’s economic development department was not what she would call super-active. But we do need someone to assume that function,” she said, to stay up to date on potential properties for new business owners looking to locate in Champlain Township.

A full-time communications coordinator job description was included in the November 14 council agenda but that potential hire was tabled, Knudsen said. That position would fit in the salary range of between $47,269 and $62,568, according to the administrative report contained in the meeting agenda package. The duties would include: press releases and other communication documents, public notices, various documents to be included in mailings to taxpayers or water/sewer users, township policy drafting, translation for all departments, posting, reviewing and ensuring the township website is up to date at all times (currently done by outside resource), creating and maintaining social media pages, assisting department heads in writing grant applications, posting messages on the electronic sign board, taking photographs for the website and corporate archives, marketing and advertising for township events and services as well as for community events and acting as communications officer within the emergency control group.

New hires must be fluently bilingual, Knudsen said, in order to serve the township’s population, which she estimated as 60 per cent francophone and 40 per cent anglophone.

Changes are in the works for the township’s recreation department, too. Champlain Township recently hired a recreation coordinator, who spends her time working from an office located at the Vankleek Hill Community Centre.

Knudsen said that while the recreation director — Lisa Burroughs — formerly had her office at the community centre, it restricted her ability to visit the various facilities, parks and rinks in Champlain Township as someone had to be present at the community centre throughout the day. Burroughs now works from an office at the township’s Pleasant Corners location.

Due to the pending retirement of the arena assistant manager, a “lead hand” will be hired to shadow this position, with the intent of eliminating the assistant manager position and replacing it with a “lead hand” position, said Knudsen. In addition, the recreation department will be recruiting full-time parks and facilities staff, she noted.