Council choses its own consultant to recruit new CAO

Cost significantly higher than that of consultant recommended by committee

By Barb McKay

Kincardine council has dismissed the recommendation of a committee set up to select a CAO recruiter, in favour of another consultant.

The selection committee, consisting of Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer, deputy mayor Anne Eadie, outgoing CAO John deRosenroll and clerk Donna MacDougall, told council Wednesday that after extensive interviews with four consultants, it had selected Maureen O’Leary-Pickard, of the Performance Group, to find a new CAO for the municipality.

Eadie made the surprising announcement that she was against the committee’s final decision.

“The recommended person from Performance Group has extensive experience in human resources, however, I cannot approve the hiring of this person,” she said.“We have an opportunity to hire someone who has experience across the province hiring CAOs.”

Eadie was referring to Nigel Bellchamber, of N.G. Bellchamber and Associates, who has experience working with municipal government, himself as a former CAO, as well as a municipal treasurer and commissioner of finance and administration.

“This could be the biggest decision we make as a council this term,” Eadie said, and cautioned her fellow council members to carefully consider their decision.

Councillor Ron Coristine agreed. “I looked over these (proposals from the consultants) and it struck me that one came up above the others,” he said.

“His (Bellchamber’s) description of the process (to recruit a CAO) was the most transparent and thorough of the four.”

Kraemer said his first choice of consultant for the job was neither O’Leary-Pickard nor Bellchamber. The other consultants interviewed for the position were Steve Hayhurst of Hayhurst Consulting Inc. and Garth Johns. But Kraemer said the selection process was fair. O’Leary-Pickard was selected for receiving the highest score in a list of criteria, including work plan, experience, cost and municipal fit.

“My feeling is the person recommended has a broader range of experience,” Kraemer said. “The scoring was close, but one person came out ahead.”

“Scoring is an interesting way to make a selection, but it can’t be everything,” Coristine said, adding that the questions didn’t seem specific enough. “I’m not satisfied with the outcome of this,” he said.

Councillor Ken Craig asked which consultant had access to the largest pool of potential candidates for the position of CAO.Kraemer said he wasn’t particularly comfortable answering the question, but said, “Some were going to fish father from home than others. The alternate was going to look closer to home, while others would cast a wider net.”

He then asked for a vote to accept the committee’s recommendation to hire O’Leary-Pickard, whose rate for service is $995 per day, plus expenses.

The motion was defeated, with only Kraemer and Craig voting in favour of the decision.

Council then voted to hire Bellchamber to act as a recruiter for the municipality, at a rate of $1,750 per day, plus expenses. The committee estimates the recruitment process will take five to six days. Council plans to hold a special meeting in the near future to discuss details of the CAO position.