Michael Merritt resigns as CAO of Cape Breton Regional Municipality

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality's chief administrative officer resigned Friday.

Michael Merritt held the role for three years. He said he's returning to Calgary, where much of his family lives.

Originally from Cape Breton, Merritt said when he made the move back home three years ago, his children were in university nearby. But things have changed.

"It was a time to make a decision," said Merritt. "And I have to say that the hours of work here have been rather significant, so I'm looking for a work-life balance."

He also served as chairman of the interim board for the Port of Sydney, but that ended Friday. "I do want to be around for a little bit to help with the transition, if I'm asked to," said Merritt.

Slave Lake experience helped when floods hit

Eldon MacDonald, CBRM's deputy mayor, said Merritt's resignation came as a surprise.

"It's been great working with Michael over the last three years," said MacDonald. "It's been a quick three years, but we've made some good accomplishments. Moving the port forward was a big file, and also the announcement of the second cruise berth."

Merritt worked in Slave Lake, Alta., when the community was hit by devastating fires in 2011 and his experience helped residents during the Thanksgiving flood that hit Cape Breton in October, MacDonald said.

"The process of building that community and putting things back together," he said. "So we were grateful to tap into that experience."

Although he submitted his resignation today, Merritt will remain CAO until June 30.

"The staff that I've worked with have been tremendous and very supportive of me," he said. "I'm going to sincerely miss everyone as I leave."​