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No error in region’s hiring of new CAO

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

An investigator found no evidence of error in the region’s process of filling its vacant CAO position last fall.

An investigation was recently mounted into a complaint regarding the appointment of Elaine Baxter-Trahair as CAO by the previous regional council.

The complainant alleged regional council should not have appointed Baxter-Trahair as CAO during what is called the “lame duck” period, otherwise known as the Restricted Acts Period shortly before the municipal election.

To the complainant, who wasn’t publicly named, the appointment went against several sections of the Municipal Act.

The investigation was performed by Michael Maynard of the ADR Chambers Ombuds Office (ADRO).

In his investigation, Maynard noted since previous CAO Gary Cubitt had announced his intention to retire in late-2018, regional council had recognized entering a “lame duck” period would restrict its ability to hire a replacement.

Regional council chose to form a hiring committee to select Cubitt’s replacement.

The hiring committee was chaired by the regional chair at the time, Gerri Lynn O’Connor, as well as the mayors of Durham’s lower-tier municipalities.

Although concerns were raised by citizens according to Maynard, council voted in favour of the hiring committee in June 2018.

Former Ajax Mayor Steve Parish and former Mayor of Scugog Tom Rowett chose not to participate as they were not seeking re-election.

Baxter-Trahair was announced as Cubitt’s replacement on Sept. 28, 2018 and began her duties on Dec. 1.

Ultimately, Maynard states he found no “demonstrable errors in the conduct of the region of the Region of Durham,” and made no recommendations moving forward on the matter.