Taking a gamble

Mark Sieben, the key bureaucrat responsible for the ministry of children and family development's day-to-day operations, is leaving for another provincial government appointment, Public Eye has exclusively learned. The move comes two years after Mr. Sieben was named the ministry's chief operating officer and four years after Ted Hughes's independent review of British Columbia's child protection system criticized the ministry's "revolving door in senior leadership positions." Mr. Sieben, who has been with children and family development for more than 20 years, will be replaced by Derek Sturko - the gaming policy and enforcement branch's general manager. Mr. Sturko has headed the branch since its creation in 2002. His transfer to children and family development is at least as significant as Mr. Sieben's departure to become the top bureaucrat at the ministry of social development. The following is a complete copy of the assorted internal emails announcing these comings and goings.

To: MCF All Exchange mailboxes
Cc: Sturko, Derek HSD:EX

Sent on behalf of the Deputy Minister

Dear Colleagues,

I am both very pleased, and somewhat sad to let you know that Mark Sieben, our Chief Operating Officer has been appointed as the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Social Development.

It's always very hard to say goodbye to someone who means a lot to us. However, this is a well-deserved promotion for Mark and I know you will all be pleased and excited for him. Our loss is certainly MSD's great gain. Fortunately Mark will not be too far away and the two ministries have the opportunity to work very closely with one another. Personally I am looking forward to working closely with Mark in his new role.

Mark has been an integral part of our ministry for over 20 years! He is highly respected, liked and loved by many in this ministry, the sector and across the Public Service and will be missed in MCFD for sure. He began his career in the Central Okanagan as a youth and family counselor, joining the Ministry in 1990 as a child protection social worker. From there Mark has held a number of positions including the Provincial Director, and ADM of Policy and Legislation before becoming our Chief Operations Officer. His contribution to the work of the ministry and the lives of children, youth and families has been remarkable. With a legal background and his experience of child protection practice. Mark has led and championed changes and innovation to practice such as Family Group Conferencing and Family Development Response, and has skillfully led or co-led cross ministry initiatives such as the CYMH plan, the CYSN cross-ministry framework, the changes from CIHR and the shift of CLBC children's services back to MCFD, and the re-design of child care. In particular, Mark has been a champion and leader of the Integrated Case Management project for MCFD and we are thrilled with the ever increasing success and progress of this much overdue system which will make a huge difference to our practice and to our cross-ministry work.

On a more personal note I want to say how much it has meant to me and what a privilege it has been to have Mark as a partner in managing the ministry so that I could spend a chunk of my time on transformation. His integrity, professionalism and abundant knowledge and skill has been such a blessing to us all.
So Mark - THANK YOU from all of us more than we can ever say, and CONGRATULATIONS!

Penny Mathews is not going anywhere (we hope) but I feel it would be appropriate at this time to say a very big and warm thank you to her for her dedicated support to Mark and indirectly to all in my office. What an exceptional person you are Penny and we are privileged to have you in our office. Thank you so much for your hard work, your skill, you support and the role model you are to all those who would aspire to be an effective Senior Executive Assistant.

I am pleased to let you know that with change comes opportunity and in this case we gain Derek Sturko as COO and a wonderful opportunity to learn from him. Derek has many years of experience in the Public Service and comes to us with a host of knowledge and skill gained in his experience as the head of the Gaming branch at PSSG and then HSD. Like Mark, he is well known for his excellent cross-ministry experience, change management and leadership. I'll be telling you more about Derek and his role early in January, but in the meantime I want to say a warm welcome to him!

Mark will begin his new assignment on the 4th of January and Derek will join us at that time.

Kind Regards,


Lesley Du Toit
Deputy Minister


From: Morhart, David A HSD:EX
To: HSD All Exchange Mailboxes
Cc: Sieben, Mark MCF:EX
Subject: Deputy Announcement

To all staff:

I am very pleased to announce that Mark Sieben will be replacing me as the Deputy Minister of Social Development, effective January 4, 2011.

Mark comes with an extensive background on the social side of government, including most recently as the Chief Operating Officer for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. He has been the executive co-sponsor of the ICM project and has worked with me from day one on the Government Non-Profit Initiative (GNPI), an effort to enhance the relationship between the sector service providers and government ministries. He is very knowledgeable about our Ministry and will bring a strong, steady hand to lead the important work that this Ministry is doing and will be embarking upon in the future.

Please join me in welcoming Mark to his new role!

Best regards,



From: Wharf, Sandy PREM:EX On Behalf Of Seckel, Allan PREM:EX
To: BCPSA Agency DM List
Cc: Sieben, Mark MCF:EX; Sturko, Derek HSD:EX
Subject: Deputy Announcement


I am very pleased to announce that Mark Sieben has been appointed Deputy Minister, Ministry of Social Development. Mark has worked in various capacities in the Ministry of Children and Family Development over the course of his career, including child welfare-related positions, policy and legislation, and strategic initiatives. Since 2008 Mark has served as the Chief Operating Officer where he has overseen all aspects of the Ministry's operations and played a key role in its transformation work. Mark brings experience as a front line worker and a strong background in social policy and stakeholder and community based consultations. He is ideally positioned to lead the Ministry of Social Development in its own transformation of service delivery to vulnerable clients.

Derek Sturko has been appointed Associate Deputy Minister and Chief Operating Officer at the Ministry of Children and Family Development.Currently he is an Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General where he provides strategic direction and leadership to ensure the effective management and integrity of gaming, while achieving government related social and economic priorities.

Previously, Derek served in several senior roles in the Ministry of Education, including funding, assessment, evaluation and accountability, and education technology and policy.

These appointments are effective January 4th, 2011. Please join me in offering Mark and Derek congratulations and best wishes in their new positions.



From: Sturko, Derek HSD:EX
Cc: Wanamaker, Lori SG:EX; Hoskins, Jeannie SG:EX
Subject: New opportunity

All Employees, Gaming Policy and Enforcement

With very mixed emotions, I am writing to advise that I will be leaving the position of ADM and General Manager, GPEB, in order to assume a new challenge as the Chief Operating Officer, Ministry of Children and Family Development, effective January 4, 2011.

I am proud of everything we have accomplished during my time in gaming. The industry now has a business focus, a strong and rigorous regulatory regime, and an emphasis on responsibleness and integrity. Together, we have implemented new legislation, new structures, and new decision-making approaches to ensure those principles are achieved.

We have been though challenging times, including the reports from BC's Ombudsperson and Deloitte & Touche, the evolution of the community gaming grants program and the introduction of North America's first sanctioned, on line casino. In every instance, we turned those challenges into opportunities to further enhance the rigor with which government oversees and regulates the business of gaming.

It has been the professionalism, dedication and commitment to service excellence of each of you that has made all of this reform possible. GPEB has a strong team which is extremely engaged and willing to take on challenges.

We have created a strong framework for the future of the industry and GPEB. I am confident my successor will have all of your support as they assume responsibility for this always interesting and ever changing portfolio.

My thanks to each and every one of you, and all of the people that were previously part of our team, for your support and all you do to ensure the integrity of BC's gaming industry.

All the best for the future and the holiday season.

Derek Sturko

ADM, Gaming Policy & Enforcement

Know your limit, play within it.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.