Minden Hills has hired former councillor and County staffer Pat Kennedy as its interim CAO.

Kennedy has joined the corporation to fill the void left by the departure of Trisha McKibbin.

He’s the former deputy mayor of Dysart et al, a former County councillor, and past EMS manager.

Mayor Bob Carter said the corporation would like a permanent CAO in place for the fall but realizes that might not happen. In the meantime, he said Kennedy would help to steer the municipality’s ship.

“We have a lot going on right now and need somebody in that position, because you never know how long that recruitment process is going to take,” Carter said.

Kennedy said he brings a unique perspective to the role.

Through my previous work experiences, I have gained a comprehensive background in policy and procedure development, budget preparation, report and funding application preparation and presentation, dealing with various levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, volunteers, and community partners,” he said.

Although he does not have the municipal CAO experience needed for a permanent position, his goal is to ensure the organization continues to operate with minimal disruption to services or council goals and priorities until a permanent CAO is in place.

“What I have found in the short time I have been in the position is a team of dedicated staff who have been working hard to maintain operations without a full roster. Our human resources coordinator is working hard at posting and filling vacancies as quickly as possible to lessen workloads for our existing staff and improve overall customer service,” Kennedy said.

It’s been a challenging time as he tries to become familiar with staff, issues, and the general role of a CAO. “I am enjoying the challenge but also realize the people of Minden Hills and staff need the stability of a permanent CAO,” he added.

Carter said Kennedy is the right man for now.

“You have somebody like Pat, who has lots of municipal experience, certainly through EMS, and having been a deputy mayor and been on council recently… he knows what’s going on. He knows Haliburton County, which is really important.”

For example, Carter said Kennedy understands the nuances of the Highlands, such as unusual property lots when it comes to planning. “Just knowing that kind of thing, and having a feel for it is important.”

Carter added Kennedy also has the personality for the job. “It helps with staff. They can feel a bit assured or reassured they have somebody that’s leading and not looking to fill the job necessarily, but who can be there to talk to and get advice from. I think all of that is important.”

Carter said they would like to do interviews in October and are hoping to make a choice by the middle of the month. However, they know that if the candidate is from out-oftown it may take time for them to relocate to the Highlands.