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North Bay CAO retiring

Knox retiring
knox, jerry turl north bay ceo

The city's Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Knox is retiring effective June 3rd.

It was announced this morning at an 11:30 news conference at City Hall.

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for The Corporation of the City of North Bay is responsible to the mayor and members of council for the administration, coordination and direction of all the affairs of the Corporation in accordance with the policies established by Council.

Knox has been the CAO for four years. He replaced Dave Linkie.

He first told Mayor Al McDonald that he would not be completing the term and that work would have to start for an orderly transition.

Knox met with council during an in-camera meeting last night.

He has worked for the city now for 14 years, serving first as the director of human resources, then becoming managing director of community services.

Knox also has experience with Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and Dupont. 

At the time of his promotion, McDonald said "Jerry's strong leadership abilities, strategic decision making and unwavering commitment to our city make him the perfect choice".

Today Councillor Jeff Serran told BayToday that he was shocked by the announcement.

"I understand his decision, but he's definitely going to be hard shoes to fill. He was always a great go-to person. You always got a direct answer and he's going to be missed."

Councillor Mark King admitted it was a "bit of a surprise", but that Knox had admitted a few times that he wasn't going to be in the job that long.

"That's an extremely tough job, and given the economic condition of the city it makes it even tougher to try and guide this city along," King said.

A head hunting company will likely be hired now, says King to find someone with fresh blood and new ideas. 

"Sometimes change is good."

Whether an outsider is brought in is an interesting question, he said.

"There are some very interesting individuals now that are managing some of the ABC's (agencies, boards and commissions) that I've watched really do a great job. That's probably an opportunity that could happen. 

"When I look at city staff I don't know whether there's really anyone in there at this point that really has the tremendous amount of experience applicable to that particular job position...maybe the CFO, but it will be an interesting process. 

Despite Knox's accomplishments, this past couple of years had been overshadowed by the Memorial Gardens fiasco.

At the time, Dec. 10th 2013, he said, "City Council was told on a number of occasions that the Memorial Gardens project was within the allocated budget. Just last night Council was advised of the $16.2 M. The Mayor and Council are justified in any feelings of disappointment, concern, frustration and embarrassment and the need to require accountability.

"This situation is very unfortunate; a grave mistake has taken place which demands accountability and serious consequences. With the Managing Director (Peter Chirico) recovering from surgery, there is a process we will need to follow in a way that is fair and protects the organization."

Despite that need and the promise of "serious consequences", no-one has ever been held publicly accountable for the mess.