The process to hire a new CAO kicked off at a town council meeting held Feb. 24.
“The last couple of council meetings we’ve been discussing the idea of executive recruitment and researching different firms that provide those services. We solicited some proposals and from there they explained what process they use, what their fee structure is and also their track record, references and so on — a standard proposal, where you get an idea of what you’re getting,” said Kalen Hastings, director of municipal relations for the Town of Coaldale. Council has selected a company to assist with that, added Hastings, noting it’s just not executive search this company provides. The company selected was Transitional Solutions out of Leduc.
“There’s also some project-based stuff that they can do. They can assist us with revamping policies or whatever work we are looking for. It’s not just simply overseeing the hiring process. Council is going to weigh the options whether they want to also retain this company to do some project work and see what kind of cost that is and play it from there.” Hastings also noted town council doesn’t necessarily want to put an artificial timeline that’s too aggressive on a specific hiring date, as it may limit the options for a new CAO. “At the end of the day — it’s let’s get the best candidate. Council, I think, that will be the top priority,” he said. “I think the concern is if you just say ‘yeah we’re going to have this done in the next six weeks’ — it doesn’t give the company much lead time for the recruitment.”
According to Hastings, typically the recruitment process can take a couple of months from the time advertising is put out to when possible candidates apply to when the interview process begins. “You’re easily a minimum of two months. If it’s quicker, than that’s a bonus. If it’s a bit longer than that — that’s not that unusual,” he added.
In the meantime, Michelle Overbeeke is the interim CAO and is also the town’s chief financial officer. “She’s been doing a really great job holding the fort down and the same for the rest of senior management. It’s been a collaborative exercise,” said Hastings.