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Hinting she’s been asked by supporters and considered running for provincial or federal politics, Karla Kosakevich believes her talents are best served currently by running for another four-year team on the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) Board.
“Yes I did make that decision I was going to run again, quite a while back actually,” said Kosakevich, the current Board chair, who represents constituents in Electoral Area E in Naramata. “I wanted to do another term in the community. People have certainly encouraged me to look beyond that at different roles in politics, but for now I really enjoy working with the folks in the community I live in.
“I also still have a son that is in school and I would like to be able to be around him as much as I can and this gives me the opportunity to work in the community where I live and spend quality time with my son.”
Kosakevich has been living in Naramata for more than 13 years.
Because of the extra responsibility that comes with being Board Chair the past few years, Kosakevich considers her job to be full-time, unlike directors, who know their duties as elected officials is part-time.
“Everybody has a different take on it,” she said. “When you’re an Electoral Area director, it’s generally deemed to be part-time, but you can make it sort of what you want. If you want to put in full-time hours or less hours, people do sort of what they decide they want to do.
“Adding the Board Chair position … for me, I consider myself working full-time in politics. It’s quite time consuming, in particular, maybe more so than other years, coincidentally since I was elected chair, we’ve two full years of flooding and fire issues.
"I wasn’t expecting that and it’s taken up quite a lot of my time as I’ve been available 24 hours a day to answer my phone, to issue declarations of local emergency, to issue evacuation orders. So for me, I consider it full-time work and I do dedicate myself to it full-time to politics.”
If re-elected to Area E, Kosakevich acknowledged she will try and win the annual election to remain Board chair when the first meeting of the new Board is held Nov. 15.
“On Nov. 15 is our inaugural Board meeting and that’s where we vote in chair and vice-chair,” she said. “We also vote in chair and vice-chair of the Okanagan Hospital District Board. Those are one-year terms that come up every November for re-election. There’s no guarantee you get four years as chair.”
Being Board chair and a regional director is something she has thoroughly enjoyed the past couple of years and “it allows me to commit daily full-time to politics.”
The fact that a number of directors are stepping down through retirement or to pursue other interests means the tradition of having many new faces on the RDOS Board is going to continue and that’s healthy and exciting, said Kosakevich.
“As far as I know we will have at least eight new faces at the Board table,” she said. “From counting who is not running and who has announced they are retiring and addition of Area I, there are going to be eight new faces for sure, quite possibly more than that if people aren’t re-elected.
“The last two terms I’ve been on the Board we’ve had a 50% turnover rate, so we’re expecting that again and maybe more turnover depending on what happens election night.”
The toughest part of having so many new faces is having a 400-page budget thrown on their laps at the inaugural meeting to begin several weeks of difficult and challenging budget discussions, she said.
“We have our swearing in set for Nov. 15, then we move directly into budgeting and that provides some real challenges,” she said. “We’re going to have a group of new people learning the ropes, but we hand them a 400-page document and tell them we’re working on that.
“If I’m re-elected and chosen Chair, I look forward to that and guiding them through that work and strategic planning work that also lies ahead of us.”
To read Kosakevich's brief biography on the RDOS website, click here.