Sunday, February 25, 2024

Council Appoints Interim CAO

As Meaford’s council works to recruit a new Chief Administrative Officer, they have appointed municipal Clerk Matt Smith as interim CAO, to lead municipal staff during the search and transition period.

The interim appointment was made during council’s August 28 meeting.

Earlier this month, the Meaford Public Library board appointed Lynne Fascinato as Acting Library CEO, a role that former CAO Rob Armstrong had held in addition to his CAO duties for the past year.

The appointment of Smith as Interim CAO comes after the sudden departure earlier this month of Rob Armstrong, long-time employee and CAO for the past five years. Armstrong’s departure was characterized by the Municipality as a retirement in a press release issued on August 9.

Armstrong had worked for the Municipality of Meaford for 14 years, first in the Planning and Building Department, and served as Chief Administrative Officer since 2018.

Smith told The Independent on Monday that he is happy to step into the role of Interim CAO while council searches for a permanent replacement.

“I’m excited to lead our excellent team of staff during this transition period. I look forward to supporting Council while they conduct a recruitment process for a permanent CAO, and working with them to continue to move this community forward,” Smith told The Independent.

Smith has over twenty years experience in the municipal and higher education sectors, both in Ontario and the United Kingdom. He has an undergraduate degree in European Studies from the University of Durham, after which he worked as an election administrator and as a university program coordinator. He moved to Canada in 2011, where he obtained a Masters in Public Service from the University of Waterloo.

Smith first worked for the Municipality of Meaford as Deputy Clerk on a short-term contract in 2015. He returned to the municipality in 2017 after being hired as Clerk/Director of Legislative and Protective Services. In 2019 his position was redefined as Clerk/Director of Community Services. In that role, Smith has been responsible for the Legislative Services, Parks & Recreation Services, Cultural Services, and Fire Services divisions, and has led major projects such as the development of the Municipality’s Community Safety and Well-being Plan.

No timeline for the recruitment of a permanent CAO has been announced, however after Armstrong’s departure was announced on August 9, Mayor Ross Kentner told The Independent that while council is hoping to find a replacement CAO in the near future, he noted that Meaford “got along without a CAO for a long time,” and he said that council will take the time needed to “get it right”.


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