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Lambton Shores considers interim CAO

By Gord Whitehead, Special to the Times-Advocate

LAMBTON SHORES — Did Lambton Shores council members know in what “different direction” they were going in the Nov. 13 meeting when they gave the boot to their chief administrative officer?

That’s what John Byrne revealed he was told after being praised for doing a good job and escorted from the closed meeting minus all of his municipal tools en route to severance negotiations.

During an open meeting of council on Dec. 17, Ward Two Coun. Doug Bonesteel stated, “There needs to be council discussion of what we want in a CAO. This is a council decision.”

What followed was open discussion of a procedure to relieve treasurer Janet Ferguson of her extra burden as acting CAO but no mention of the new direction leadership being sought. A majority of council supported a motion that Mayor Bill Weber, Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Davis-Dagg, Ward Four Coun. Martin Underwood and Ferguson come up with a CAO search procedure for presentation to council’s Jan. 14 meeting.

Seeking direction on a method for filling “this very full time job,” Ferguson suggested it may take considerable time to find a suitable candidate and reported that she had requested information from municipal associations that have databases of persons available for temporary contract work.

“Having someone fill the position on an interim basis would allow staff to maintain their workload while the day-to-day CAO-related duties are also being handled.”

Ferguson also suggested an interim person could help guide the process of filling the position on a permanent basis.

“We can request proposals within and without the municipality for CAO on an interim basis and send the request through municipal associations,” said Ferguson.

Council gave no indication of what direction will be followed, leaving it to the committee of four to prepare a report for consideration on Jan. 14.

Other council notes:

Smoking bylaw unsupported

Lambton Shores council voted to oppose a county-initiated bylaw that would prohibit smoking within nine metres of outdoor recreational areas, playgrounds and playing fields.

Lambton County can impose such a bylaw if it obtains the support of a majority of its 11 lower tier member municipalities and if those municipalities have more than half the total population in the county.

Davis-Dagg, a non-smoker, led off the discussion by describing the proposed bylaw as “a slippery slope.”

“I’ve asked for research on open spaces,” she said. “We have to make decisions based on facts. This is over regulation by government.”

Ward Three Coun. Lorie Scott wondered how the bylaw could be enforced.

“Would they have a long measuring tape and who would be monitoring it?”

Ward Two Coun. Doug Bonesteel said, “I’m opposed because we still allow the sale of the product.”

Weber countered, “It’s an educational thing.”

Weber and Davis-Dagg represent Lambton Shores on county council.

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