Renfrew announces hiring of Robert Tremblay as new CAO

·5 min read

Renfrew – Renfrew is on solid ground and on the right path with the hiring of Robert Tremblay as its first ever Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) as he brings a shared vision that will help lead the town towards continued economic growth.

Reeve Peter Emon added Mr. Tremblay will not only help lead the senior management team as it transitions to an entirely new approach to management of all of the town’s operations, but the future hiring of a treasurer (expected June 14) will fill a vital role in terms of budgeting and working with council in the overall financial operations of the corporation.

Mr. Tremblay, who has been the CAO at Whitewater Region the last five years, will begin his employment with Renfrew beginning June 26. In total, he has been employed for 20 years in the municipal sector. He obtained a Masters in Public Administration and is a PhD Candidate in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph.

He has also served on the executive of the Association of Municipal Clerk Treasurers and has served in senior roles with the organization over the last three years.

In a joint release issued with Whitewater Region on June 1, Mr. Tremblay acknowledged the support he received from that council.

“It was an honour to serve the township for five and a half years,” the release stated. “I am proud of our team members who are important ambassadors and crucial to delivering services. I will continue to be a champion and cheerleader for Whitewater Region, as I know it is an excellent place to live, work and enjoy life. I am moving on to the next chapter in my career and have full confidence in the team to keep the momentum going.”

At a special meeting in Renfrew on May 19, council went into closed session for the majority of the 35-minute meeting when Reeve Emon made the hiring recommendations to council. They emerged from the closed meeting in order to have council recommend the hiring for the positions in an open session.

Reeve Emon did not identify the successful applicants noting at the time they had a set time period to accept the offer of employment or negotiate for any final revisions. However, he did present an overview of the hiring process for the CAO position.

As reported previously in the Leader, the town has never had a CAO in place to oversee the entire administrative operation of the town. Traditionally, each department head presented either a written or oral report to all of council on the activities of their respective department.

However, the new model will now see each department head report directly to Mr. Tremblay in terms of how each department is fulfilling its obligation to carry out the policies and projected outcomes as directed by council. This includes all administrative tasks such as disciplinary actions, completion of projects like roads or the construction of the $16 million addition to the Ma-te-Way Activity Centre.

Mr. Tremblay will in turn report to council and those results are in conjunction with his pre-approved contractual obligations. Reeve Emon said the new model will allow council to concentrate on policy development.

“That is why we introduced the motion authorizing the Human Resources Committee, with the assistance of the County of Renfrew Human Resources, to develop a Goals and Objective package with the successful CAO candidate for the remainder of 2022,” he said. “This will be presented to council for approval within seven working days after the first day of employment of our successful CAO candidate.”

Reeve Emon said he and fellow committee members, Mayor Don Eady and Councillor Arlene Jamieson, worked for months to help ensure the successful candidates shared the vision of the town’s future.

“First off I want to acknowledge and thank the county’s Human Resources Department for their assistance with the whole process,” he said. “Earlier this year the town entered into a contract with county staff in order to provide us with specialized skills geared towards this process. It took a while and lots of meetings but we wanted to present our best candidate to the rest of council and the residents of our town.”

He said the town received 35 applications when the position was advertised. The committee and county staff shortened the list to seven in order to arrange one-hour interviews. In the end, it came down to a choice between two candidates following a second interview and Mr. Tremblay was introduced to council for approval.

“I think what our committee was impressed most about many of our candidates was their grasp of the enormous challenges facing not only Renfrew, but all local governments in terms of future streams of revenue,” he said. “I mean just look at the financial fallout from COVID alone. Both the provincial and federal governments will have to pay for all those costs and that means less transfer of funds to the local level. Our new CAO recognizes that and it will be the driving force on pretty much every decision council makes.”

He also noted the majority of applicants had a higher than expected education level. Many had professional degrees at the Masters or Bachelor’s level and various occupations included a lawyer and some with extensive public/business administration degrees.

Reeve Emon said the salary range for the CAO position is in the $137,829 - $162,144 range.

He also stated an update on the recruitment of a new fire chief will be provided at a future council meeting.

Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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