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Brock Township using ‘hybrid approach’ in search for new CAO, rejects use of external recruiter

September 1, 2023
The Canadian Press

The Township of Brock municipal building in Cannington, Ont.
By Ojasvini Parashar, Brock Citizen

In a recent Brock Council meeting in Ontario, the members unanimously chose a hybrid approach for hiring the new chief administrative officer (CAO) for the township.

The council aims to initiate the recruitment process in September, ensuring a seamless transition before the retirement of the current CAO, Ingrid Svelnis. As per the presented staff report, it’s crucial to have the new CAO in place by late October to mid-November, allowing for a six-week overlap period to maintain operational continuity.

The council was presented with two options for hiring the CAO. One was to hire an external recruiter and the second was to look at a hybrid arrangement. A budget of $35,000, carried over from 2022 budget, is available for external recruitment, covering anticipated costs of $28,000 to $35,000 based on the chosen candidate.

The chosen hybrid model, which will cost from $9,000 to $11,000, involves leveraging an HR professional from another municipality, the current CAO, a subcommittee including the mayor and few other councillors and an HR-oriented administrative staffer for resume processing. Svelnis suggested incorporating Target Training International screening at around $4,000 to evaluate values and temperament alignment.


Ward 4 Coun. Cria Pettingill said in the meeting that the chosen hybrid approach involves a lot of work from the council members but would allow more involvement in the process.

“It makes it our responsibility, and I think we are more accountable through this process than going through the external process. I do realize it’s an awful lot of work. But the outcome is so essential that we will be more involved this way,” Pettingill said.

Brock Mayor Walter Schummer said that he initially wanted to go with the external consultant approach because he didn’t want to base his decision on the cost, as the CAO hiring is crucial to the council and the township. His only chief concern with the hybrid approach was the time availability factor of the external HR support and the current CAO. However, the mayor also agreed with the council on the hybrid approach as the CAO indicated her availability throughout the process.

“There seems to be an indication that our CAO will have the time to dedicate to this and that we’re going to have the support that’s needed from the external HR. So, I can support the hybrid method if that is kind of the will of counsel,” Schummer said.

“We’ve got to make sure this works properly, but if there is any indication that we might not have the kind of support we’re looking for ? then I believe we would have to revisit it, because we simply cannot sacrifice the quality of this process.”

The posting for the CAO position will go out after Sept. 4, Labour Day, as Svelnis wanted to make sure that people don’t miss the listing. The intake will stay open until the end of September, which will give people enough time to apply and do a bit of research.

Subsequently, the current CAO and the council will proceed with interviews during October, aiming to secure a candidate by the end of October or the middle of November. Meanwhile, Svelnis will manage the ongoing responsibilities, such as union negotiations, ensuring a smooth transition for the new appointee.

For advertising purposes, Svelnis said that she will focus on The Ontario Municipal Administrators Association’s (OMAA) website as the “number 1 location.”

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