Cobourg announces interim CAO

By Cecilia Nasmith

Following a special Aug. 12 council meeting, Cobourg has announced the appointment of municipal treasurer and director of corporate services Ian Davey as interim chief administrative officer for a period of six months, effective Aug. 30.

The move follows last month's news that chief administrative officer Stephen Peacock will be taking an approved medical leave.

The town's press release notes that Davey is a lifelong Cobourg-area resident and an alumnus of CDCI West. He went on to obtain a bachelor of business administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and his Chartered Accountant designation in 1983. Davey's accounting career began in Cobourg's private sector before he joined the town's senior management team in 2002.

Mayor John Henderson said he was pleased with the appointment.

“His long-standing familiarity with local government operations and proven attention to fiscal responsibility positions him for success,” Henderson added.

Davey's appointment runs through Feb. 28, 2020, and – looking ahead toward that date – council's committee-of-the-whole session on Tuesday includes a staff report from human resources officer Melissa Henke setting out five options, along with an analysis of the benefits, drawbacks and costs of each.

Option 1 would be to hire an external search firm or consultant, the most costly option but one with the potential to offer expertise and resources beyond what the other options could provide.

Option 2 would be to conduct an internal recruitment process, a quicker and less expensive alternative.

Option 3 would be a variant on Option 2, with the addition of a hired consultant to assist council in the process rather than deal directly with the human resources officer.

Option 4 would be to maintain the status quo - extend Davey's appointment and postpone hiring until a later date.

Option 5 would be to do nothing. There is no requirement under the Municipal Act for a CAO – but along with the cost savings would come certain staff restructuring and increased workloads (and potentially increased overtime costs).

Henke's report does not set out any specific recommendations favouring any of the options. Instead, it recommends council provide direction on how to proceed.