By Lori Wiedeman, Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Queen Charlotte
Debra Uliana, chief financial officer for the Village of Queen Charlotte, will be retiring on May 31, after 16 years of service.
Debra started her public sector career with the Queen Charlotte/Skidegate Landing Management Committee. When the village incorporated in 2005, she became the first chief administrative officer, chief financial officer, and corporate officer.
She played a huge role in organizing the inauguration event, worked through the transition from the management committee to a municipality, and worked hard to learn her new role on the job, spending hours reading through all of the rules and legislation.
Debra has been the constant face of the village through changes of mayor and council, and has played a key role in all of the hiring decisions for staff. Through it all, she has remained steadfast, fiscally prudent, and acted as a mentor and coach to all of the staff. One of my favourite Debra quotes is, “We are a municipality, not a race” — her way of saying our decision-making processes are designed to allow time for thoughtful reflection.
Her sound financial guidance has helped the corporation to grow, adding new programs and services for the benefit of our residents while also ensuring that we planned for the future. She has worked with each council to establish and increase our bylaw-ed reserves, which are currently worth over $1 million.
Debra’s corporate knowledge, which dates back to before incorporation, will be greatly missed by our community. Some of the significant projects she has been involved in include: the new water treatment plant, Spirit Square, SeaWalk, Community Park and gardens, the youth centre, the boat launch improvement project, ByPass Trail, the municipal campsite at Hadyn Turner Park, and the new fire hall.
Debra’s attention to detail and the endless hours she has spent keeping us on track through grant-tracking and the budget and taxation cycle makes her an unsung hero in my books. But Debra’s commitment to our community didn’t end there, it was also demonstrated in her volunteer work. Over the years she has volunteered with the Heritage Housing Society, Martin Manor, the Haida Gwaii Film Festival, and many others.
Debra and her mother Lois will be moving to White Rock to be closer to family. The community overall will be the poorer for the loss of these two engaging and caring individuals. As the chief administrative officer, I will never forget the support and friendship she offered when I was new to my role. I join the staff, mayor, council and residents of Queen Charlotte in wishing Debra all the best in the future and hoping that we will get to see her often when she visits.
Debra’s last day will be May 19, for those who may want to drop by the office in the next week or so and wish her a HAPPY RETIREMENT! She will definitely be missed.