Decision on filling Woodstock’s empty CAO position a few weeks away

·2 min read

Woodstock council approved a motion Tuesday, Jan. 11, to re-install Director of Development and Planning Andrew Garnett as the temporary interim chief administrative officer and clerk.

The motion will keep Garnett in the role he filled over the final months of 2021 in the absence of former CAO Ken Anthony. Last week, the town announced Anthony would not return to his job.

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Art Slipp said it would take two or three weeks before council decides how to fill the CAO position permanently.

He said a closed committee of the whole session following Tuesday's open council session dealt primarily with the process and personnel but made no resolutions or motions.

"The issue is going to get carried forward for another couple of weeks, and we'll see where we are at that point, but there were no decisions last night (Tuesday)," he said.

Council dealt with two motions to install Garnett as "interim acting clerk" and "interim acting CAO" immediately after the mayor's opening remarks. Slipp explained council needed a clerk officially in place to proceed with the meeting.

Coun. Norm Brown asked to amend the motion to remove the "acting" and "interim" terms to read the appointment of Andrew Garnett as the clerk and chief administrative officer.

"I'm not prepared to take that motion as an amendment right now," responded Slipp to Brown's request. "We have that on the agenda for the committee of the whole."

After Brown suggested holding the motion to appoint an interim CAO and clerk until discussing his proposed amendment, Slipp explained the meeting couldn't continue without a clerk in place.

Brown, agreeing that the council meeting needed to go forward, moved the motion to appoint Garnett as the interim acting clerk. Council unanimously approved it, as it did the motion to appoint Garnett as interim acting CAO.

Slipp explained the town needed to pass the motion to re-install Garnett as the previous appointment had expired. The interim appointment will last 90 days or until council resolves the issue, whichever comes first.

Tuesday's meeting also saw council pass the resolution officially appointing Kristen Pelkey, the newest member of Woodstock's administration, as treasurer. Pelkey attended Tuesday's meeting.

Garnett explained Pelkey joined the town's administrative team in December and "has been a great asset for us."

"She came highly qualified with a great resume," he said.

Council also approved amendments to the Woodstock signing authority, adding Pelkey and removing Anthony.

Mayor Slipp and Deputy Mayor Amy Anderson, along with Garnett, Pelkey, Fallon Lappage, director of human resources, and Ann Marie Voutour, the director of administrative services, who is currently on extended health leave, now have signing authority with the town.

Regulations require two signatures on all town financial transactions, including the mayor or deputy mayor and one of the approved staff members.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

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