Niagara Region moves to recruit a new CAO after controversy

CAO Niagara Region is moving ahead with hiring a chief administrative officer, after it was rocked by a hiring scandal in 2016

Niagara Regional Council is moving to fill the role of its Chief Administrative Officer on a permanent basis, after delaying the process due to COVID-19 and after grappling with a tainted search process in 2016.

The Chief Administrative Officer is the primary member of municipal staff to interact with Council and acts as the manager of a municipality. The executive reports directly to council and is required to implement plans, policies and projects for council.

Ron Tripp has been filling the role in an acting capacity since late 2018. Council had previously opted to temporarily delay the CAO recruitment process in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Niagara Region chief administrative officer, Carmen D’Angelo, has been been implicated in a 2016 scandal that landed him the lucrative government post.

At its Dec. 17 meeting, Regional Council is planning to appoint a recruitment committee composed of the Regional Chair and four members of Council as was approved on Feb. 20, 2020.

The committee’s first task will be to retain an executive search firm to aid in the selection process. The full recruitment process is expected to take four to six months, from start to finish. Acting CAO Ron Tripp will continue to serve in his current role until the recruitment process has been completed.​

“The vote to hire a permanent Chief Administrative Officer signals Regional Council’s desire to solidify the bureaucratic leadership of the corporation after nearly two years of external delays,” said Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley. “Given the circumstances surrounding the previous CAO’s recruitment, I want to assure the public that this recruitment process will be carried out ethically and with full transparency. On behalf of Regional Council, I want to thank Ron Tripp for his service as the Acting CAO, and express my full confidence in his continued service while we carry out this important recruitment.”

Former Niagara Region chief administrative officer Carmen D’Angelo has been implicated in a 2016 scandal that landed him the lucrative government post that paid an annual salary of $230,000.