ST. MARY’S – New year, new jobs. That’s how things are shaping up in leadership roles at the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s.
On the job since August, Chief Administrative Officer David Hutten told The Journal in an interview Jan. 4 that his “position with St. Mary’s will be shifting in focus,” and Economic Development Officer (EDO) Marissa Jordan is assuming the newly created post of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.
According to Hutten, who retains his CAO title and supervisory authority over staff, Jordan will “take on more direction in the day-to-day operations,” allowing more time for him to focus on “strategic goals” and development demands. “Together, with St. Mary’s council, we have been rigorously looking at development opportunities for St. Mary’s,” he said. “This is a key priority, and one of the major components of council and my discussion during [my] interview and onboarding phases.”
He added: “During my first two months here [we] did an assessment of what we have. We determined that [while] it was a very well-run municipal office, significant shifts were needed in order to achieve some of the goals council hired me for. So, in the last month-and-a-half, we’ve spent time restructuring, tightening job descriptions.
“We’ve got a more efficient model now… while focusing on key priorities and strategic development plans… We’re getting poised for growth.”
In recent weeks, Hutten has told The Journal that the district has been on the receiving end of “incredible” outside development interest – a result he has pegged to healthy municipal finances, efficient public services, rising property values and a welcoming attitude toward commercial enterprise, in general.
“I can say for the record that we’ve already talked to some interested [real estate] developers that are looking very seriously at St. Mary’s,” he said late last year. “We’ve been talking with them about specific areas and projects. What we’re trying to do right now is find out what is tangible for the very near future and how we can get that action going.”
Deed transfer tax revenues were up substantially to $64,088 during the first quarter of the fiscal year, ending June 30, 2021, from $14,161 during the comparable period in 2019-20. The municipality also registered 17 building permits, with an assessed value of $1.6 million, compared with 10 worth $718,000 in the period two years earlier.
Hutten – who took over as chief administrative officer for St. Mary’s on Aug. 15, replacing the retiring Marvin MacDonald – had been CAO of the Hartland, N.B., since 2019.
Prior to that, he was chief of staff for a Member of Parliament from Winnipeg at the House of Commons in Ottawa (2011-2014).
Said Hutten about the changes: “We [council and staff] have agreed to terms moving forward on a trial basis with the structure and, with my position as a consulting CAO, focused on specific high-level projects and plans, as well as oversight and supervision of staff workplans and operations at large.”
Warden Greg Wier was not available for comment by press time.
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal