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County CAO to introduce ‘new way to doing business’

Merlin J. Dewing

Prince Edward County’s new Chief Administrative Officer will introduce “the philosophy of sustainability” in the new year as part of his initial plans for leading the administration.
At a closed session meeting Dec. 14, Merlin J. Dewing briefed council on his blueprint for “rationalizing business practices and demonstrating a commitment to customer service excellence and accountability.”
“We will be introducing the philosophy of sustainability into our thinking, planning and actions and working with staff to instil customer service excellence as a core value of the organization,” said Dewing. “Prince Edward County’s reputation as an innovative and emerging business incubator needs to be supported by a new way of doing business.”

Within the first quarter of 2012 the CAO will undertake the following initiatives:
* A services delivery review will be initiated as a prelude to identifying the optimum organizational structure to achieve effective and efficient delivery of approved services and service levels.
* On an interim basis the CAO will assume direct oversight of the Economic Development portfolio to give high level profile to this important function and high priority attention to investment readiness and the development of an economic strategy.
* The update of the corporate Strategic Plan will also move to the CAO’s portfolio.
* Operating and Capital budgets will undergo a more stringent internal review and analysis to ensure appropriate alignment with corporate goals and objectives and our strategic directions.
* Efficiencies to Council meetings will be introduced including the provision of informational items directly to members of Council and the elimination of the same material from agendas, allowing Council to focus its deliberations on strategic issues and policy setting.
* Delegation of authorities for decision making on routine matters will be brought forward to streamline service delivery.
* Modifications will be identified to the purchasing policy to improve accountability and streamline process.
* Changes to personnel policies and salary structures to improve staff recruitment and retention as well as to achieve greater certainty of related staffing costs will be introduced.
* An Acting CAO Program will be initiated as an initial activity for corporate-wide succession planning.
The CAO will be holding meetings with all staff to explain the change in direction, engage their support  and answer questions.

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