Surprise Admin Shakeup at Oxford Town Hall
Surprising news from Oxford — the town eliminated the position of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The current CAO, Rachel Jones, was released from her contract early today.
Mayor Greg Henley says the Town Council unanimously approved a motion to eliminate the CAO position as a cost-cutting measure.
The town's finances are said to be in rather dire straits. Mayor Henley says the town is moving back to a model where councillors will have more control over spending, reviewing all expenditures with an eye toward reducing any unneeded outlays.
The mayor said a sense of complacency has led to a situation where money flowed too freely, and something drastic had to be done to bring the town's finances under control.
Jones will receive a severance, which was included in her contract at the time of hiring. The town will save the cost of that position, though it is anticipated that there will be additional costs as the CAO's responsibilities are taken up by other staff.
A special council meeting, held tonight, appointed Linda Cloney as acting Town Clerk — a promotion from her current position as the town's Deputy Clerk. Cloney served as acting Clerk following the town's dismissal of its previous CAO, Darell White, several years ago.
Mayor Henley says the province's Municipal Affairs department was consulted on the move back to a Town Clerk administrative model, and there were no reasons given as to why it couldn't be done.
He says Town Council is hopeful this will help bring the town's finances back under control as they prepare the upcoming budget.
This year's budget will be the second to be drafted under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also had far-reaching repercussions for municipal finances everywhere.
The town recently received a quarter-of-a-million dollars from the federal and provincial governments to help offset COVID-19 expenses and revenue shortfalls, though it remains unclear how that money will be spent.
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