Norfolk to appoint interim CAO

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An announcement is pending regarding the appointment of an interim CAO in Norfolk County.

Norfolk council approved the appointment following a closed-door meeting last week. The person filling the position will “be later publicly announced by Mayor (Kristal) Chopp” a resolution passed at the end of the in-camera session says.

Norfolk has been without a top bureaucrat since former Chief Administrative Officer David Cribbs abruptly resigned in mid-January.

Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus got the ball rolling on a replacement two weeks ago when he tried to table a motion calling for a process to hire a replacement.

Columbus acted after reading the minutes from recent meetings of Norfolk’s senior management team. In the minutes, county general managers say the absence of a full-time CAO is creating workload issues. Norfolk council deferred the matter to the March 26 meeting.

Since Cribbs’ departure, Norfolk’s senior managers have taken turns discharging the CAO’s responsibilities. Columbus wanted the county’s general managers to share their experiences in recent weeks, which they did at last week’s council meeting.

“The current rotating CAO is less than ideal,” Marlene Miranda, acting CAO and Haldimand and Norfolk’s general manager of health and social services, said.

“Currently, we’re working on a consensus model. But there can be six different opinions around the table and a CAO would help making final decisions.”

Pam Duesling, general manager of development and cultural services, said delays with the approval of policy and procedures is straining planning staff.

Public works general manager Chris Baird said there is a key position in his department that he hasn’t been able to fill.

As well, the late approval of the 2019 capital budget means there may not be enough time left in this year’s construction schedule to slot projects requiring paving. Hot asphalt is normally applied during warm weather.

“We feel the pressure, absolutely,” Baird said.

For his part, Bill Cridland, general manager of community services, said the backlog of unresolved issues is snowballing with each passing month.

Columbus was asked last Wednesday when the new CAO would be in place. He referred the question to Chopp, who said an announcement is forthcoming.

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