The Town of Hawkesbury will be hiring a new Chief Administrative Officer’s (CAO).  The CAO is basically the general manager of a municipality and oversees the heads of the various departments and ensures that the decisions made by council are implemented.

Former Hawkesbury CAO Daniel Gatien went on leave in July 2020 and the CAO position became officially vacant in mid-December 2020.  Citing confidentiality and privacy, Mayor Paula Assaly could not provide details on the circumstances that led to the CAO’s departure.

When Hawkesbury council met on January 11, it approved proceeding with a recruitment mandate to hire a new CAO.

Council has decided to use the services of Montréal and Rigaud-based Alternative RH, the same human resources firm it used to recruit the previous CAO in 2018.  For the recruitment of a new CAO in 2021, it will cost the Town of Hawkesbury $8,275 to use the services of Alternative RH, and the amount will be added to the 2021 municipal budget, which has not yet been approved.  Due to the pandemic, the recruitment and selection process will be done online.

The town is planning on advertising the vacancy on websites related to municipal government and municipal civil service employment for one month.

Human Resources Director Dominique Dussault, who is also serving as Interim CAO, said that Alternative RH requested that the town establish a selection committee to oversee the recruitment process.  Assaly suggested that the committee be composed of three elected officials and Marie-Claude Morin, one of the partners in Alternative RH who will act in an advisory capacity.

Councillor Yves Paquette noted that the same number of elected officials was used during the 2018 process and that the arrangement had worked very well.

Assaly, and Councillors Robert Lefebvre, and Lawrence Bogue volunteered to sit on the recruitment committee.

Council also agreed to amend the period for which the CAO position is advertised to three weeks instead of one month.  The recruitment timeline proposed by Alternative RH suggested the position be advertised for two weeks, from January 22 to February 5.  Assaly suggested that the period be amended to three weeks in order for more prospective candidates to become aware of the opening.  Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis had expressed concern that not enough time was being allotted for advertising the position in order to attract the best candidate.  The position will be advertised on municipal government professional websites.  Dussault explained that one month is a common amount of time on professional websites for municipal positions and Lefebvre affirmed her answer.  Assaly said that three weeks is a more reasonable amount of time.

If the recruitment timeline goes according to plan, a conference call between Alternative RH and the recruitment committee to discuss the results of the process will be held on March 8.