Minden Hills director of community services, Craig Belfry, is leaving the township.
Mayor Bob Carter confirmed the news July 24.
He said the circumstances are similar to the pending departure of CAO Trisha McKibbin
“He’s been around for two-and-a-half years or so, got the department built, got the arena opened, which was a huge feat,” Carter said.
The mayor added, “if you’re upwardly mobile, you use that on your resume to go to bigger centres.”
Belfry started with the township on Nov. 2, 2020, coming from the Township of Brock. Prior to that, he had worked at Springwater, and for Scugog. He replaced former director Mark Coleman, who resigned in January 2020 to go to Brockton.
At that time, McDonald Bros. Construction Inc. was finishing the multi-milliondollar S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and Community Centre project. Belfry was also responsible for brokering the deal that brought the Haliburton County Huskies to the arena.
“It’s a bigger job and it’s hard for us to compete,” Carter said.
Belfry did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
As for public perception of a revolving door at the township, Carter said in the last week, they had hired six new people, with another two or three expected to be hired soon.
“We’re filling up staff, which is great. But you’re going to have these types of things. Again, if you hire good people, they’re going to be recruited. And right now, in municipal jobs right across Ontario, there’s dire shortages in almost every one of those municipal jobs.”
Carter said some recent hires due to seasonality, retirements, resignations and leave-of-absences include: a director of building/bylaw/planning or CBO, casual planner, manager of parks, recreation and facilities, planning technician, manager of planning services and manager of waste facilities. He added they have offer letters our to two more and are recruiting for five to six other positions.
Carter added “it’s going to be this way. You hope to be able to keep them for three years or so and get the best you can out of them and continue to build on that. But it’s not necessarily that Minden’s a terrible place to work or anything. It’s not.”
Carter said with local government in small regional areas, townships are fortunate to get someone like a Mike Rutter (The County of Haliburton CAO) who is highly-qualified and truly local.
“Unfortunately, when you have the County and four townships, we don’t have enough locals to fill all of those positions so you start hiring from outside and those people, they don’t have the ties to the community that others might.”
He acknowledged there are municipal headhunters looking to poach staff.
“There’s probably half-a-dozen headhunters in Ontario who basically recruit for all of the municipalities and they know the list of people and they keep track. They place somebody in town, they’ll know that three years from now, all of a sudden that person is a potential recruit for another position.”
He added because the OMERS pension is transferrable, municipal employees can move around. “You can look at every municipal job in all of Ontario as being one of the positions.”