New CAO a chance for Greater Napanee to start fresh


To say Greater Napanee has been without a captain at the wheel for almost a year now wouldn’t really be accurate.

While it was back in July that John Pinsent resigned as the town’s chief administrative officer (CAO), the town’s deputy CAO Brant Zätterberg has been filling the role in that time. And by all accounts the deputy has done a fine job-but ‘interim’ or ‘acting’ CAO is much different than just straight up CAO.

Enter Matthew Grant, who the town has hired and will begin his duties in earnest on June 17. Shortly after the announcement of his hire, the Beaver was able to chat over the phone with Grant. First impressions are of a candidate who is eager to take on a challenging role with a dash of optimism and civic pride. The fact he comes from a journalism background didn’t hurt, either.

Industry jokes aside, Grant is taking over a crucial role in the community that is in need of steady leadership and stability. It’s no secret that things haven’t always been hunky-dory between staff and council. So strained is the relationship that is has spilled over quite publicly during council meetings.

Grant represents an opportunity to start fresh and move away from the blame game and get everyone pulling in the same direction. Disagreements between co-workers are normal and are to be expected. Council and town staff have a unique dynamic in that you’ve got elected officials working with paid staff. Ultimately they may want what’s best for the community but they have very different avenues in which they can obtain that goal. At the end of the day they do have to answer to the taxpayer and it’s better for everyone when they can work together and get stuff done.

In his chat with the Beaver, Grant mentioned stability as a valuable asset he aims to bring to the table. Napanee has seen both sides of the coin when it comes to a CAO, having had Ray Callery in the top spot for three decades and then seeing Pinsent leave after about a year and a half. Callery’s run is virtually unheard of in the municipal sector. While there’s something to be said for bringing a fresh set of eyes to the job, too much turn over too often isn’t productive either. It is worth noting that Greater Napanee isn’t alone in seeing high turnover rates within its offices as several neighbouring communities are experiencing the same issue.

However, just because it’s not a unique problem doesn’t mean it’s not still a problem. Though the town has gotten by, there have been some bigger projects that were left on the back burner while the search for the next CAO carried on behind the scenes.

To its credit, the town didn’t rush into this decision. They took their time with their search and have selected Grant.

Now that the ship has a captain once more, taxpayers have to hope it’ll be smooth sailing from here.

-Adam Prudhomme

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