So, who really is behind the wheel of the city hall bus? It may not be who you think.

city_scope_logo-cmykQuite the surprise this week with the announcement City Manager Wendell Graves plans to retire next March.
Hard to imagine he began his public service 41 years ago as a student in the Municipality of Central Elgin planning office. That’s according to the city hall media release, however Central Elgin was not established as a municipality until 1998 and as reader Dave Mathers correctly points out it would have to be a planning office in Belmont, Yarmouth or Port Stanley.
Also, surprising is his rationale for the long lead time up to that date next spring.
“The next few months will fly by and I want to ensure city council has the opportunity to plan strategically for its next leadership,” advises Graves.
In commenting on the announcement, Mayor Joe Preston notes, “With our city positioned in such a strong, strategic direction city council appreciates the fact that Wendell has provided a good planning horizon so that we can thoughtfully recruit and put in place the next leadership for the City.”
Did you catch the common theme here?
Leadership for the city is provided by the city manager.
Most residents of St. Thomas are likely under the impression the city is led by the mayor and council.
After all, isn’t that why we elect them?

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As expected, Wendell Graves announced as city’s first CAO since 2004

Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman and Members of City Council are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Wendell Graves as the Chief Administrative Officer / Clerk. Mr. Graves will assume these responsibilities on Monday, April 4, 2011.

Wendell Graves

In 2004 the City implemented a Management Board structure which has remained in place until earlier this year when City Council made the decision to return to a CAO system of civic administration. With the reintroduction of the CAO system Council’s desire is to position the City to seize all opportunities for the City and to meet its challenges with a focused administration.

Wendell Graves is no stranger to the City and has served as City Clerk since 2004. Wendell has 29 years of progressive public service including his time with the Town of Aylmer where he served for ten years as Chief Administrative Officer.
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