Town fills three management positions, COO returns to planning and development, and the search begins for a new CAO

by | Aug 16, 2023

Woodstock filled three top-level administrative positions and began searching for a top administrator while the current chief operating officer announced plans to return to his old job.

Mayor Trina Jones and COO Andrew Garnett delivered significant administrative staffing updates during the Aug. 15 council meeting at the AYR Motor Centre.

Garnett announced plans to return to his role as Director of Planning and Development during his COO update early in the meeting.

Garnett, who served as CEO and Planning and Development Director for over a year, initially agreed to take on the newly created COO position when the town announced plans to divide the heavy workload.

After discussions with the mayor and council, Garnett said he opted to return to his old planning and development position. He said council supported his decision.

“I’m 110 per cent happy with that choice,” he said.

Mayor Jones said the administrative changes began because a single person couldn’t handle the workload as CEO and planning and development director.

She said staff and council welcome Garnett’s decision.

“We’re happy to have Andrew remain on our team,” Jones said before thanking Garnett “for taking on such a gargantuan task.”

The mayor said the town will now begin the process of finding someone to fill Woodstock’s top administrative position. She added Garnett agreed to continue shouldering the workload until the position is filled.

Jones said the town would use a third-party HR company to seek the right candidate for the position, noting it will provide council with a final shortlist to consider.

“We’ll get involved at the very end,” Jones said.

Following the meeting, Jones said council is yet to determine if the new top administrator would be a CAO or a COO.

While the search began for the administration’s top job, the mayor announced that the town had filled three top management positions — Finance Director, HR Director and Utility Director.

Jones announced that the town hired Jennifer Crabbe as its new finance director, replacing Kristin Pelkey, who resigned in early July to take a position with a local company.

Crabbe joins the Woodstock administration after serving in a similar position with Carleton North.

Jones also announced hiring Amy Thornton for the newly created position of Human Resources Direction.

She said Thornton offers a “massive background” in the field.

The mayor also announced that John Lyons will fill the new position of Utilities Director.

She explained Public Works Director Greg Stokes oversaw water and sewer, in addition to public works. Lyons will take over the water and sewer portion of Stokes’ role.

“Greg is happy about this,” Jones explained.

The mayor noted the aging condition of the town’s water and sewer infrastructure and extensive attention it requires a sharp focus.

“We can’t do that without a dedicated team,” she said.

Jones said Lyons, who comes to Woodstock from his role with the town of Oromocto, offers a wealth of experience.

She said Lyons helped introduce smart metering in Oromocto, which will prove vital as Woodstock considers the same process over the next few years.

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