Get to know Greater Napanee’s incoming CAO Matthew Grant

Matthew Grant has been hired as Greater Napanee's next CAO.

Adam Prudhomme

Nearly 11 months after the resignation of its previous chief administrative officer (CAO), the Town of Greater Napanee has hired Matthew Grant to fill that role.

He’ll officially take over the position on June 17.

In a release announcing the hire, the town described Grant as a career public servant with a background in communications, government relations, community engagement and media. Over the past 16 years, he has served in senior roles in municipal and provincial governments and Canadian research universities in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Western University and a Master of Journalism from the University of Queensland, Australia. Most recently he held the title of director of communications with the City of Hamilton, performing chief of staff duties while serving a member of the senior leadership team.

As CAO his job will involve working with elected council, ensuring the policies and programs of the municipality are implemented.

In anticipation of taking on the town’s top administrative job he spoke with the Beaver about what attracted him to this position, his priorities and his first impressions of the town.

“Becoming a chief administrative officer has been a really long term goal for me since I lived in the north in Whitehorse,” said Grant. “When the Napanee opportunity came up it was too good to pass up and not put in an application. My wife (Alison) grew up in a small town, she’s very interested in returning to a small town. When we drove through Napanee during the interview process I remember my wife saying ‘this feels like home’.”

Bringing a diverse background to the role while having worked in communities of all sizes, Grant says his first plan of action will be to listen and research his new community.

“I can tell you the first several months of my time in Napanee, it’ll be a learning exercise,” said Grant. “I appreciate Napanee is unique in its own right. Its going to be talking with the hardworking staff, sitting down with community stakeholders to learn what our Napanee’s unique opportunities and challenges and then what ideas can I bring to the table to continue to contribute to its success.”

Grant takes over a staff that has seen its share of turnover the last couple of years in several key positions, the CAO’s desk included. Napanee’s previous CAO John Pinsent announced his resignation in July of 2023, having taken over for Ray Callery who left the role in June of 2021 after 32 years with the town. In Pinsent’s departure deputy CAO Brant Zätterberg assumed CAO duties on an interim basis.

“During the (hiring) process I was certainly asked if I was willing to live in the community and invest a reasonable amount of time, and I am,” said Grant. “I think in terms of challenges in the municipal sector, I think its sector wide. If you look across the provinces, there’s lots of retirements, the pandemic had a pretty big impact, there’s been lots of legislative changes. I think across the municipal sector, there’s lots of places looking for stability.”

Once the hiring became official and Grant began telling friends and family, he said he heard nothing but good things about the community.

“It’s strategically located, you’ve got great infrastructure, road, rail, you got access to the water, you’ve got the really diverse economy,” said Grant. “I remember coming into town I notice that you have a really robust highway commercial area and a really vibrant downtown and those two things don’t always go together. What I did notice is people in Napanee fiercely love the Town of Greater Napanee. I made a habit as a former reporter, you go around and you talk with people and people were not shy about telling you about their community. I like that because I remember when I lived in Whitehorse it was very similar. People would roll up their sleeves, volunteerism was big. There was lots of community conversation on where they wanted the community to go. That’s a good thing.”

Grant says he’s eager to work with town council.

“I know the deputy CAO has done a really good job and he’s done a lot,” said Grant. “I really look forward to working with him and I really look forward to working with council.”

Greater Napanee mayor Terry Richardson echoed those sentiments in an official release.

“On behalf of the community, council, and the Corporation of the Town of Greater Napanee, I would like to welcome Matthew to our municipality,” said Richardson. “Matthew’s experience and upbeat perspective will most definitely make a positive influence, not only to the Corporation, but to the municipality as a whole. We have some exciting times ahead us, and we are happy Matthew will be part of those times. Once again, welcome Matthew and your family, to Greater Napanee.”

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