Huron East hires McRoberts as new CAO
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Bradley McRoberts has been hired as the next chief administrative officer of Huron East, succeeding Brad Knight, who has held the position for just over 10 years.
Huron East Council made the appointment official last week after a special meeting on May 25, which was closed to the public. However, after the in-camera session, council passed a motion to appoint a new chief administrative officer, with McRoberts being named as a successful candidate.
The next day, Huron East issued a press release stating that McRoberts would begin his time with the municipality on Monday, June 28. The search was conducted by a selection committee, which included Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan and Councillors Dianne Diehl and John Lowe. Council had also enlisted the services of consultant Nigel Bellchamber, who conducted the search.
McRoberts first studied Civil Engineering at the University of Waterloo before earning his Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in local government from the University of Western Ontario.
He began working in the public sector in 2007 as the manager of public works for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.
From there, he started work with Owen Sound, first as its manager of special capital projects from 2009 to 2011 and then as director of operations from 2011 to 2014.
He then moved on to the Township of Mapleton as its director of public works from 2014 to 2015 before being named its acting chief administrative officer for five months before serving as the chief administrative officer from 2015 to 2017.
McRoberts then returned to the Township of South Bruce Peninsula in 2017 as its chief administrative officer. He has been there since taking leaving Mapleton.
“Huron East has qualities that reflect the best features of several municipalities I have previously worked with and I am looking forward to joining with council and staff in their efforts to make it an even better community,” McRoberts said in the press release.
In an interview with The Citizen, MacLellan said he was impressed with the search right away, as the municipality received 31 applications for the position. This, at a time, MacLellan said, when senior positions are getting harder to fill with more retirements and fewer qualified candidates to fill those vacancies.
In addition, MacLellan also said that seeing so many candidates really showed him that a lot of people want to work with Huron East and that it has a good reputation in the municipal world.
From there, MacLellan said the committee conducted interviews, most of which lasted an hour or longer, with six very qualified candidates.
One candidate dropped out of the running after the interviews, leaving five, and council then further curated that list down to three candidates who were called in for a second interview. Another dropped out, leaving a final two for third and final interviews and the committee made the recommendation to hire McRoberts to council.
As part of McRoberts’ hiring, MacLellan said council has also been able to write in several milestones they hope the municipality will reach under McRoberts within his first six or seven months. Among them, MacLellan said, are a path forward for the Huron East Economic Development Department after the death of Jan Hawley, the creation of a strategic plan, some light restructuring at the municipal office and improved succession planning.
What really impressed the committee with McRoberts, MacLellan said, were the competent answers they received to any questions members asked. McRoberts’ qualifications were also very impressive, he said.
With McRoberts beginning later this month, MacLellan said there will be an opportunity for McRoberts to work alongside Knight for a week so he can learn the ropes before Knight officially retires. However, MacLellan said Knight has graciously offered to return on a part-time basis or in any consulting capacity that’s necessary to help McRoberts along if the situation calls for it.
McRoberts will be replacing Knight after Knight spent just over 10 years as Huron East’s chief administrative officer. Before that, he was Huron East’s treasurer, working with Grey Township for years before amalgamation.
All told, Knight’s municipal career will have spanned over 36 years by the time he retires at the end of the month.
“We have appreciated the dedication of Brad Knight in all he has done for the councils over the last 36 years, and we look forward to working with Mr. McRoberts to build upon the solid foundations that have been laid for future success,” MacLellan said in the press release.
Check back with future issues of The Citizen for an interview with McRoberts as he begins his time with Huron East and for a retrospective with Knight, looking back on over 36 years of work with local municipal administration.