Strathroy CAO search debated

·3 min read

Who gets to pick the final list of candidates for the most powerful municipal employee in Strathroy-Caradoc was debated as two staff members are on the committee to pick their new potential boss. It is made doubly complicated if applicants are their current colleagues.

All of council gets the final vote on who the new chief administrative officer will be, but the search committee whittles down applicants that get voted on. The committee is made up of Mayor Colin Grantham, Deputy Mayor Mike McGuire, Coun. Frank Kennes, director of human resources Doug Payne, and director of community services Rob Lilbourne.

Coun. Brian Derbyshire suggested changing how the final candidates are chosen at the end of the Apr. 17 council meeting.

“I believe with the way it’s going possibly at this point that we should possibly go back to a different format where we just use the three councilors,” said Derbyshire.

“The other one would be an outright full consultant to find us the five people, the best five to present to the whole of council. To me, that would be where I would go; that would be the best option.”

Mayor Grantham disagreed.

“I think the process will work. I’m comfortable with the process; I support the process. Let’s see what happens,” said Grantham.

Director Payne pointed our headhunters to find applicants are expensive, saying they cost in the range of $50,000. Director Lilbourne said management is made up of professionals up to the task.

“I’ve been a senior manager for a number of years and have selected a number of senior positions. The position that I’m in is amongst four other professionals in the room, high level professionals in the room. And again, it goes back to no one in that room is picking a CAO. What we’re doing is going through a number of candidates and identifying those that we feel through a scoring process meet that bar to be presented to this group of nine (on council) who will select the next CAO,” said Lilbourne.

Coun. Steve Pelkman said this could be a good experience for any internal applicants to go through the process.

“If you did harbour any ill feelings, then it’s very clear there’s a good reason for why you weren’t chosen.”

Deputy Mayor McGuire suggested a compromise.

“With the possibility of having internal candidates, it can become a little more difficult with the current format,” said McGuire.

He was in favour of keeping three councillors and Human Resources Director Payne to help, along with two other people from outside the county including possibly another CAO and mayor.

“That can just sit and let us know what they think,” said McGuire.

In the end, no change was made to the selection process.

Strathroy-Caradoc has been without a permanent CAO since the resignation of Fred Tranquilli Mar. 10. Director of IT and financial services Bill Dakin is serving as acting CAO.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner