NS: West Hants' interim CAO settling into new role

Carole Morris-Underhill, Hants Journal
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Cathy Osborne, of Porters Lake, was the successful candidate hired to help guide the municipality over the coming months through a variety of issues and day-to-day operations.

Cathy Osborne, the interim CAO for West Hants, began her contract with the municipality July 9.

[PORTERS LAKE, NS] - West Hants' interim CAO hasn't wasted any time in rolling up her sleeves and diving right into the role.

Cathy Osborne, of Porters Lake, was the successful candidate hired to help guide the municipality over the coming months through a variety of issues and day-to-day operations.

Osborne officially began her post with the municipality July 9.

“The first week I would have said it was intense but now it's just plain busy,” said Osborne following her first committee of the whole meeting. “There's a lot going on in the municipality and a lot of things I have to learn and come up to speed on. With staff's help, I think I'm finding my way.”

Osborne’s services were required after Cheryl Chislett, the chief administrative officer for West Hants, abruptly went on sick leave in late June. Around the same time, Chislett was charged with assault, which occurred outside of the work environment.

Osborne commended the staff for their commitment and dedication to serving the community, especially in light of recent events.

“Staff's commitment to the community and to working here is a positive. They've all stepped up and it has just been really good, especially in such a trying time for them,” said Osborne.

The Porters Lake resident spent 33 years working within a municipal government setting, finishing her career as a deputy auditor general in Halifax. She now offers her expertise on a contractual basis.

“I believe public service is an important profession and that we have a duty to the people we are working for to give the best we can and that's what I try to instill in the people that I work with.”

Her background is mainly in accounting practices, conducting operational reviews, audits, and other such financial examinations. As such, Osborne says when she identifies examples of ways the municipality could be doing business differently, she suggests changes.

“My background is in auditing so I look at things a little different. So I challenge them if that's the way we should do things and make some changes,” said Osborne. “I haven't made a lot (of changes) yet but my approach is to work as a team.”

Osborne said there are several challenges currently before the municipality, including Hantsport's pending dissolution, and fire services mediation. However, she's optimistic the county is poised to come out in good standing as long as they continue to work together for the common good.

“Even with some of the percolating issues in the background, one of the things I have observed is how passionate this community is about their community,” said Osborne.

Geographic location: Porters Lake, Hants, Halifax Hantsport

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