Darren Flynn, a long-time Kivalliq senior administrative officer (SAO) and Government of Nunavut (GN) employee, returned to the region to take the position of SAO last Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Flynn, 56, was SAO in Arviat for a number of years before leaving that position to become the GN’s director of community development in 2002. Flynn remained in that position until 2009 when he became an acting deputy minister for a year.
That title became official for him in 2010 and he remained in that position until retiring in 2018, leaving Iqaluit and heading south. He received a 20-year service award from the GN in 2014.
Flynn said he and his wife, Sarah, were quite content to be retired and living in Newfoundland, although they couldn’t do any more there than anywhere else due to Covid-19 restrictions.
He said Rankin Inlet had always been very good to him, so he couldn’t look the other way when he found out the hamlet could use a bit of help at the SAO’s position.
“Sarah and I have always travelled back to the region here and there since our retirement,” said Flynn.
“We came up at least once a year since she retired in 2013.
“And, most importantly, I saw Rankin was having some difficulty and I figured it was a chance to lend a hand.”
Flynn did agree to a couple of contracts while retired, taking one interim position in Norman Wells, NWT, and pitching in to help out Whale Cove this past winter.
He said both jobs were all about pitching in for a couple of months to help out, doing some interim management and hiring someone to take the job full time before he left.
“When I saw the Rankin position advertised a couple of times I figured why not?
“I mean, Sarah and I are still relatively young, so let’s defer retirement for a couple of years, come to Rankin and, hopefully, provide a little help for a place that was pretty darn good to me for the 13 years I lived there.
“It feels like I’ve been going straight out since the tires hit the runway here in Rankin Inlet on Dec. 2.
“Looking back, I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity to retire early a couple of years ago — the wife had already been retired for five years — and that allowed Sarah and I to get back to hanging out with each other again instead of commuting every few months.”
Flynn said like any SAO-type contract, his new contract with the hamlet of Rankin Inlet is “at pleasure.”
He said that means as long as he does his job properly the possibility of staying longer in Rankin will remain.
“The hamlet has been really up front with me about all things going on here at the moment. Covid making its way here happened after I had accepted the position, and I think some people were a little concerned over whether I would venture into that.
“But I’ve always been the type who lives up to any commitment he makes, so knowing Covid was active here at the time didn’t phase us at all.
“We knew we’d have to be careful but we’d already been practising this in Newfoundland since this past March.”
Flynn said his goal this time around is to do the best he can in support of hamlet council and its efforts to develop the community further.
He said Rankin is a busy community right now and, judging from what he’s seen in a few meetings, it has a very, very proactive council.
“I think some of my experience and planning abilities are going to combine with council’s ideas and passion to map out some pretty good plans for the community.
“Covid turned the entire world around, Rankin was looking for someone to come and help and, hopefully, I’ll be able to do just that.
“The response from people since I landed here has been absolutely humbling, and I feel really privileged to be in this position.
“Hopefully, I’m going to be able to provide really good service for all residents of this community.”