Public Works general manager retires from Norfolk

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The new Norfolk council enters its second year next month with an almost entirely new team of senior managers at the helm.

The latest to go is Norfolk veteran Chris Baird, who announced his retirement as manager of public works on Sept. 11. Baird was a member of the new Norfolk management team in 2001, starting as the inaugural roads manager.

Baird went on to serve as general manager of planning and cultural services before taking over at public works following the resignation last year of Lee Robinson.

“He has plans to spend more time with his family,” said Chris McQueen, Norfolk’s interim CAO. “It’s sad to see him go. He made an important decision on what was best for him in moving on to a new chapter. We congratulate him and thank him for his contributions.”

Jason Godby, Norfolk’s manager of public works administration, will serve as Norfolk’s interim general manager of public works. Godby has frequently represented his division at Norfolk council in recent months.


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The county also announced it has secured the services of an interim general manager of corporate services. He is Jason Burgess, an employee of the consulting firm MNT.

McQueen said Burgess is a good fit. The pair came to know each other when both were employed by Niagara Region. The other senior manager in Norfolk’s corporate services division is interim treasurer Kathy Laplante, who was appointed following the departure of Norfolk treasurer James Johnson in August.

“Interim” managers at Governor Simcoe Square have proliferated in recent weeks because Norfolk council is in the process of hiring a full-time CAO.

The county will entertain applications for the position until the end of September.

McQueen has served notice that he is interested in the job full-time.

He said a basic principle of municipal governance holds that the senior administrator hires his or her management team. Once the CAO position is settled, McQueen said interim managers will be replaced with permanent managers.

He said the ongoing shuffle of managers is not unusual. A change at the political level, he said, often means changes to the managerial flow chart as well. Only two of nine incumbents were returned to Norfolk council in last fall’s municipal election.

“It’s not unusual to see a change in the council result in a change in the senior management.”

McQueen himself was introduced as Norfolk’s interim CAO earlier this month. He replaces Harry Schlange, former CAO of Niagara Region and the City of Brampton. Schlange has moved on to serve as CAO for the Town of Grimsby, a lower-tier municipality in Niagara Region.

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