British Columbia's ComFor Management Services appoints Kerry Martin as operations manager to oversee operations of Burns Lake community forest, handle residual details of sale of Sheraton Holdings

BURNS LAKE, British Columbia , August 16, 2013 () – Burns Lake resident and long-time Burns Lake community forest (BLComfor) harvesting supervisor Kerry Martin as been selected to fill the new position of operations manager for ComFor Management Services Ltd. (CMSL).

“In this role, Mr. Martin will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Community Forest and the residual details of the sale of Sheraton Holdings Ltd.,” reads an Aug. 8, 2013 CMSL press release.

“I thank the board for the appointment and I am happy to be moving forward,” said Martin of his new position with BLComfor. “I am also looking forward to the results of an independent financial analysis that will guide us in the continued restructuring of the companies.”

The creation of the new position is part of what is described as ‘phase two’ of community forest restructuring.

The long-advertised position of BLComfor general manager (GM) will no longer be filled. A dozen applications for the position were made, and the board of BLComfor came to serious negotiations with one applicant, but the position was not filled.

“We no longer have plans to fill the GM position,” said Ron Zayac, interim Comfor manager. “After the final restructure is complete, we will reassess the situation and decide if there are still gaps in the management structure.”

Instead, the operations manager will maintain the day-to-day responsibilities the general manager used to hold, but he will not hold executive-level decision making functions.

“Technically, Kerry will be responsible for all the operations for BLComfor,” Zayac explained. “This includes the harvesting and roads programs that he is already responsible for, the forestry program, and the silviculture program.”

But he will not be responsible for board decisions or deliberations.

“Moving Kerry into a position managing operations allows the board to focus only on policy and restructuring knowing that the interests of BLComfor are being looked after by someone intimate with the history of the organization.”

Two more phases of the restructuring process are expected to be complete in time for the third and final phase of restructuring, the 2014 contracting cycle.

With operations management settled, the BLComfor board of directors will move on to a detailed financial analysis stage. The analysis will be carried out by an independent analyst - a tender package is being prepared - and will take into consideration looming difficulties the forest industry will face, including the inevitable drop-down in annual allowable cut.

The second phase of restructuring is related to transparency of Comfor operations.

“We will begin a detailed review of all Board policy to simplify the way the Board works and to ensure fairness and transparency of the operations,” Zayac said. “We respect that BLComfor is a publicly owned institution and we plan on simplifying policies and making it more clear how businesses in our community can compete for Comfor-generated work.”

Zayac will be stepping down from the position of interim general manager at the end of August, although he will continue to work closely with Martin as he transitions into his expanded role.

“I may continue to help with communications and a few other functions, but will not be managing the company,” Zayac said.

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