Chambers to leave North Huron for Kincardine - May 18, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
Sharon Chambers will be abdicating the position of North Huron Chief Administrative Officer in just over a month.
Chambers, who was hired in March of 2015, will be leaving to perform the same role for the Municipality of Kincardine.
The new role will start July 4 and Chambers anticipates that, as a result of a closed-to-the-public session during North Huron Council’s meeting on May 15, the hunt for her replacement will soon start.
“I will suggest that we get busy with recruitment as soon as possible,” she said in an interview with The Citizen.
Chambers said that being able to give North Huron as much time as possible to find a replacement was a priority for her.
“I communicated that to Kincardine,” she said. “They were very kind to give me two months to stay and make sure council has time to find a replacement.”
Chambers said she was drawn to Kincardine for several reasons. She originally hailed from the area and first started working for a municipality there.
“I’ve stayed in touch with my colleagues in Bruce County,” she said. “It is hopefully going to be a fairly seamless transition, thanks to those connections.”
Chambers worked at South Bruce for more than 20 years, working her way up from filling out bills to becoming South Bruce’s CAO, before she signed on with North Huron.
Those experiences in South Bruce and some unique experiences she is anticipating taking part in are what made her want to move on.
“It was a very interesting opportunity for me when I saw it come up,” she said. “They have some really interesting projects that I’m quite drawn to.”
She said Kincardine has an intermediate-level nuclear waste project and she has previously had experience with that kind of facility. She also said working so close to the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant with its ongoing refurbishment and the associated economic activity will be a welcome addition to her role as CAO.
“It’s very intriguing and it’s work I’ve done in the past,” she said.
While she is excited for the change, she said she didn’t want to leave North Huron, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“I’m really pleased with the progress we’re making here,” she said. “I’m proud of the team we’re building and I honestly wish I had a longer opportunity to work with them and move projects forward. This was an extremely difficult decision for me, but the opportunities seldom show up in a timely manner.”
She said she had alerted Reeve Neil Vincent and other members of council and staff prior to the announcement of her hiring on May 10.
“I actually called Neil prior to the Kincardine meeting to let him know the bylaw [making my hiring official] was considered that evening,” she said in an interview with The Citizen. “That’s the process that you have to go through in positions such as mine.”
Chambers said the same situation arose when she was hired at North Huron.
As for her time at North Huron, Chambers said she was proud of several achievements that she and the rest of the staff had marked.
“When I first started, council told me its top priority for senior staff was to look at cross-border servicing issues,” she said. “We revamped that policy and have agreements with Central Huron and Morris-Turnberry that I believe are a lot more workable for North Huron.”
Chambers said that, despite not achieving the result that was envisioned, she considered the shared services project that resulted in North Huron and Morris-Turnberry share staff members, was a positive plan.
“We’ve seen a lot of advancements in different areas like asset management and construction projects,” she said. “We’ve achieved a lot including the airport feasibility study, looking at policing services, and other notable achievements.”
She said she will regret not being able to continue working with projects in Blyth including the Blyth Arts and Culture Initiative 14/19 Inc. and Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company.
“I found those projects very intriguing and very exciting,” she said. “It would be very rewarding and stay and work with those groups to see the projects come to fruition.”
She also said she was excited to see what happened with the Emergency Services Training Centre under the direction of new North Huron Fire Chief Ryan Ladner.
Vincent said he wasn’t surprised by Chamber’s announcement.
“Realizing what Sharon’s abilities are, there would be other places definitely doing whatever they could to attract her to their municipality,” he said in an interview with The Citizen. “I can’t blame them. Sharon’s skills are in very high demand.”
Vincent said that council knew when they hired Chambers that her skill level could result in her term being a short one with North Huron. Council had only anticipated her being on staff for five years, Vincent said.