Cosens unveils first election plank – the importance of hiring a CAO



ST. THOMAS – Mayoral candidate Mark Cosens delivered his first of several election platform statements today: installing a Chief Administrative Officer of the Corporation of the City of St. Thomas.

“I strongly believe that a city the size of St. Thomas, with its complexity and challenges, now more than ever in today’s economy, needs a true professional leader at the helm of municipal staff,” Cosens said. “Hiring a CAO is one of my first priorities once elected, an initiative I believe would assist putting St. Thomas back on the map in an effort to attract jobs to our community.”

While he considers improving the St. Thomas economy and creating jobs his overriding task as mayor, the hiring of a CAO would further that goal and the task is a priority on Cosens’ agenda when elected.

Reasons why St. Thomas needs a specifically educated and trained CAO:

• In the present administration and practice, no single City of St. Thomas staff member leads or represents municipal staff, either in reporting to elected officials, representing the City in the community or acting as a liaison with important associations or organizations;
• A CAO provides both Council and staff with a clear and knowledgeable understanding of the Municipal Act and interpretation of other provincial and federal government legislation, policies and programs affecting municipal operations and opportunities;
• A CAO heads up the Corporation. In ideal municipal governance practice, Council should set policy which staff is then instructed to deliver upon and execute. Without an official top liaison of municipal staff, department heads in the existing management structure deal directly with council members, including the mayor, in all important decision making processes posing a political conflict. A CAO would put an appropriate distance between direct interference of elected officials, who essentially should operate as an empowered board of directors, in the daily operation of the Corporation.

Cosens believes that strong leadership by elected officials is essential in municipal governance, but not at the cost of running an effective and efficient Corporation (the City).

“A mayor leads by example, both politically and as the official figurehead of the city,” Cosens said. “A mayor, in cooperation with Council, provides a clear vision. A CAO would work with the mayor and council to deliver that vision in practical terms. I look forward to the challenges that lay ahead and with the hiring of CAO, we will be that much closer to delivering the jobs and future prosperity that St. Thomas so desperately needs and deserves.”

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For more information, please contact Mark Cosens, (519) 282-8044 or markformayor@live.com.

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