Norfolk County’s CAO selection process took on new urgency with word that interim CAO Chris McQueen has taken his leave.
McQueen’s employment contract with Norfolk was set to expire in March. However, the county announced on Dec. 18 that McQueen has ended the contract.
In a news release, Norfolk says McQueen is leaving “to pursue another professional opportunity.”
“I would like to thank council and county staff for their warm welcome and support over the past several months,” McQueen said in a statement.
“I have had the opportunity to learn and grow from council and many talented staff who have taken on challenges, brought new thinking and supported positive changes.
“It has been a privilege to be part of the ALL-Norfolk Community Centre funding application and share in the passion for this project. Norfolk County is working to build a solid and sustainable financial plan that sets the foundation for delivery of quality services and important community investments.”
In the same release, Mayor Kristal Chopp thanked McQueen for his leadership during his time with Norfolk, which began late this summer.
“Chris provided great guidance to staff and council,” the mayor said. “And for that we’re most appreciative. We have a hard-working and dedicated staff team here at Norfolk who I’m confident will keep things moving as we continue to prepare for difficult budget meetings scheduled for the new year.”
McQueen is the third administrator to occupy the CAO position in Norfolk in 2019 and the third to vacate it.
Full-time CAO David Cribbs left the county unexpectedly in January, replaced in March by former Niagara Region and City of Brampton CAO Harry Schlange.
Schlange served in Norfolk on an interim basis as well before accepting the full-time CAO position in the Town of Grimsby.
McQueen – the former director of internal control and organizational performance at Niagara Region – arrived in Norfolk in August and officially took over as interim CAO after Labour Day.
During his stay, McQueen expressed interest in serving as Norfolk’s full-time CAO and said that was his goal when he submitted his application.
Chopp says Norfolk is well-situated to deal with the void created by McQueen’s departure. Norfolk launched a process several months ago to recruit and appoint a new, full-time CAO. The position has been advertised and a roster of candidates collected.
“The posting has closed, and the county will soon begin reaching out to some of the many qualified candidates who have applied for the position,” Chopp said in the Dec. 18 release. “We’re looking forward to bringing some stability back to the organization with the appointment of a permanent CAO.”
Norfolk council is expected to confirm an interim staffing plan in the near future.
McQueen could not be reached for comment.