In a surprise move that was almost as surprising as the announcement that Ann Pappert would not be renewing her contract as Chief Administrative Officer in the first place, Derrick Thomson will not be moving to the Town of Caledon to become General Manager of Community Services. Instead, he will stay in Guelph as the new CAO.
The announcement was made shortly after a closed meeting of council earlier this evening. “I am thrilled to accept this opportunity to lead the dedicated and talented team of employees at the City of Guelph as CAO,” said Thomson in a press release. “Guelph is a city with incredible strengths and opportunities for the future. I look forward to working with Mayor Guthrie, City Council, employees, residents and businesses to make the most of them.”
Thompson was made Deputy CAO of Public Services in 2014 during a corporate re-organization of City Hall, and his portfolio oversees parks and recreation, public works, culture and tourism, customer service, transit, emergency services, by-law compliance, civic engagement, and facility maintenance. He joined the City of Guelph in September 2013 as Executive Director of Community and Social Services.
Securing Thomson for five-year term as CAO addresses a couple of problems that came from Pappert’s pending departure, primarily the perceived “brain drain” of City Hall as Thomson’s former resignation was one of four major staff departures this year alone. From his own statement in the release, it’s clear that Mayor Cam Guthrie wanted to act quickly to assure continuity and the preservation of institutional knowledge for the city’s top bureaucrat.
“When we received the news of Ann’s impending departure, Council moved quickly to begin a competitive internal recruitment process,” said Guthrie. “Derrick, who is well-respected both inside and outside of city hall, will continue to move the city forward on numerous key files. All of Council is impressed with his vision for the City and his ideas on how to get us there. We look forward to Derrick leading alongside excellent deputy CAOs.”
Pappert’s term as CAO ends, and Thomson’s begins, in October.