The CAO and Council should not be mortal enemies. It is NOT normal for Council to be at odds with the CAO and vice versa. There is a legislated requirement for these two entities to co-exist, as one fulfills the role of governance and the other administration; but that isn’t why they should get along.
This relationship is crucial to the proper functioning of any municipality and ensuring the needs of the community are best served.
It is Council’s job to determine the vision and it is the CAO’s job to make it work. In the same way a STRATEGIC plan should not be developed without considering the OPERATIONAL plan, the CAO and Council must act together in order to be successful.
When there is a lack of trust, poor communication, paranoia and a power struggle (to name a few), this results in wasted energy on reviewing the CAO contract, holding secret meetings and producing bad evaluations when the work of building the community should be the focus. Not only is this approach more productive but it is also more fun.
Firing a CAO is an expensive, emotionally draining and a time consuming endeavour. The cost of terminating the CAO can be in the tens of thousands of dollars and can take, at a minimum, 6 months to recruit. A vacancy in the top manager position results in:
- Lost productivity with time better spent achieving Council goals
- Disruption of services throughout the organization
- Volatility with staff that leads to fear and a sense of lost job security
Salvaging the CAO/Council relationship, with the expectation for improvement, is a preferred option (especially from the taxpayer perspective). AERRIS is able to identify and resolve the real issues preventing a functioning team approach with a few simple solutions.
The solutions may not be easy, but they will be more cost effective than buying out a contract unnecessarily. It is worth exploring the possibility of a positive working relationship rather than prematurely dismissing an Administrator.