/Opportunities abound at municipal level CAOs say
Dysart et al chief administrative officer and former HHSS student Tamara Wilbee talks to a class at the high school. DARREN LUM Staff

Opportunities abound at municipal level CAOs say

By Darren Lum

Published April 14 2016

It was a stroll down memory lane as muchas it was an opportunity to encourage students in high school toconsider municipal work for local chief administrative officers.

Except for Minden Hills’s CAO Lorrie Blanchard the groupincluded all of the area CAOs: the county’s Mike RutterHaliburton’s Tamara Wilbee Township of Algonquin Highlands’sAngie Bird and municipality of Highlands East’s Shannon Hunter whospent a few minutes before the presentation to a careers classsharing laughs and poring over the yearbook photos from when they allattended Haliburton Highlands Secondary School at the same time in1986.

Wilbee who believes municipal work is among the best in thecounty said there are many jobs available locally at the municipalgovernment as well as career opportunities for those with theambition to move up.

“We’re all from here and from this school. We went throughthe same programs you are so you have just as much opportunity as [Idid]. That’s the basic overall message” she said.

The CAO is responsible for the operation of the municipalityco-ordinating the efforts of the departments to administer thetownship’s business affairs.

“That’s just not the norm in every business. Sometimes you getthe job and that’s the extent of what your employer wants to investin you. In our case our employer continues to invest in us all along.It happens at every level of the organization” he said.

Hunter remembers sitting in class at HHSS having no idea about herfuture.

When she first started working for the municipalgovernment she didn’t know about the many opportunities.

“In the municipal field you don’t have to go for the topjob. There are all kinds of positions in a municipality and you caneducate and work your way [up] the ladder” she said.

Other than Rutter the group said they all started atentry-level positions such as assistants or as clerks includingsecretary.

Bird started as a receptionist and took courses and worked herway up to her current position.

“I encourage all of you to look into the municipal field inyour education. It’s out there. It’s interesting work and as theyears go by we’re losing a lot of the older professionals that arein the municipal field. It’simportant to get the younger generation into it which doesn’t seemto be happening. Have a look at it. It’s great work” she said.

Municipal work includes a broad spectrum of jobs and careers.

There is work in the sciences firefighting water andwastewater treatment engineering library computer IT. All of thejobs come with great benefits.

Wilbee encouraged the students to apply for jobs even if theydon’t think they have enough experience.

“We could have 10 resumes with no experience you may as wellcome give it a shot. It doesn’t hurt to try” she said.