CAO Stephen Peacock Stepping Down

In an internal memo to staff on Friday 26 July, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Stephen Peacock announced to Town staff that he is going on medical leave effective September 1st.  In a conversation a few months ago, Stephen told me that he was planning to retire effective the end of the year with an announcement late Fall so it seems that he is bringing this forward.  There is no official announcement currently planned  since he is not actually retiring (it’s medical leave) although it is not expected that he will return anytime soon.  Stephen has been CAO since 2009 and before that Director of Public Works from January 2004.  He graduated from Guelph University with his Engineering degree in 1986.  As CAO, he is responsible for all of Town’s staff and is the official interface between Council and Staff.

Stephen Peacock
Stephen Peacock

The photo of Stephen at right was taken by Ted Amsden in 2014 – it’s the best one I’ve found of Stephen.

There is as yet no discussion on a replacement – internal candidates would be Directors:

  • Glenn McGlashon – Director,  Planning & Development Services – Glenn has worked at the Town for 30 years
  • Ian Davey – Director of Corporate Services – otherwise known as the Finance Director but also has Town Clerk Brent Larmer reporting to him
  • Dean Hustwick – Director of Community Services – hired in April 2016 to start a new division “Parks, Recreation, Culture & Tourism” – since renamed to Community Services – article about his hiring here. This includes my “to-do list” for him which he has mostly achieved.
  • Laurie Wills – Director of Public Works since June 2018.  Hired as Deputy Director in January 2017

In 2009, the previous CAO Steve Robinson retired after being with the town for 27 years, first as the director of finance, then as CAO for nine years.  The Town initially hired a “head hunter” to find a replacement but ultimately promoted internally.  Since Stephen’s announcement was earlier than expected, the Town has yet to decide on how to handle the vacancy.

Links

Update 11 August 2019.

Valerie MacDonald reports at Cobourg Now that Peacock is currently using vacation time but Mayor John Henderson said that he will be back in his office for the last five to seven days of August. He will then go on medical leave effective Sept 1. While he is away, Ian Davey will be acting as CAO.

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Pamela Jackson

During my six years on council, 2000 to 2006 I valued the advice, the input from and the time I spent being helped and advised by Stephen Peacock. I thought him a valuable addition to town staff
then and over the years observations from a distance have done nothing to change my opinion. I wish you all the very best, Stephen.

Leona Woods

To lose the corporate knowledge Stephen has, as well as his helpfulness, efficiency, and genuine effort to do what is best for the town is significant. Best wishes in the journey that lies ahead.

Ben

Make a clean break hire from the outside

Keith Oliver

While Bens’ recommendation that the Town look outside for a new CAO has merit, the problem is finding someone that has the knowledge of the past history of the Town and it’s issues as well as the players both in the burocracy and among the public. Peacock is one of the most approachable and helpful members of any administration I have ever dealt with and that includes London, Ontario, Burlington, Vermont and Annapolis, Maryland. Though shoes to fill.

Ben

That’s the problem Keith, inbreeding produced stunted results. If we hire from within let’s look at the limited number of candidates and would you think that they would step out of the mould of Cobourg, we need new breath, new institutional knowledge and a new broom to sweep clean.