Regional Council makes progress on CAO recruitment

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

The Niagara Regional Council and its CAO recruitment committee will soon post a job ad to recruit a new Chief Administrative Officer, it has announced.

On Thursday night, Regional Council approved a position profile, job advertisement, and core competencies for the CAO position.

The documents, the Region’s news advisory said, “capture the essential characteristics, traits, experiences, and abilities that exemplify leadership at Niagara Region, and will guide the identification and selection of candidates.” 

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.

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.

The region’s CAO Recruitment Committee has retained Legacy Executive Search Partners, an executive recruitment firm, to aid in the search for a permanent leader.

Legacy Partners has a long history of successful work within Ontario’s municipal sector, and has facilitated several CAO searches throughout the province, including neighbouring communities, along with a recent placement within Niagara.   

The job advertisement will be posted shortly and once closed, a long list of candidates will be considered by the CAO Recruitment Committee, to determine a short list of candidates to be invited for an interview over the coming months. 

The updated CAO hiring process incorporates numerous recommendations made by the Provincial Ombudsman that were designed to strengthen the integrity of the process.

Three West Niagara regional councillors Diana Huson (Pelham) and Albert Witteveen (West Lincoln) and Rob Foster (Lincoln) make up three of the five committee members. Regional Chair Jim Bradley and Fort Erie mayor Wayne Redekop also sit on the committee.