Former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly to be named Charlottetown CAO

Dave Stewart
Published on March 28, 2016
Peter Kelly sits down for a one-on-one chat with Metro Halifax in 2012.
Metro/Philip Croucher - FILE

Charlottetown council meets Tuesday to formally appoint former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly as top administrator. More on Kelly:
- Served as mayor of Halifax from 2000 – 2012
- He didn’t reoffer in the 2012 municipal election after a scandal-plagued term that included a concert spending scandal, and the mishandling of his role as executor to a friend’s estate.
- Has been back in Halifax for the last month after a stint as CAO in Westlock County, Alta.
Source: Metro Halifax

Former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly is getting the City of Charlottetown’s top non-elected job, The Guardian has learned.

Kelly will be appointed chief administrative officer (CAO) for Prince Edward Island's capital city during a special public meeting of city council on Tuesday at noon.

Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy confirmed Monday that council will meet at noon to deal with the CAO position but he would not comment on who the successful applicant is.

Duffy served on the initial hiring committee with councillors Melissa Hilton and Terry MacLeod. They short-listed a field of 57 applicants provided by Island Recruiting.

“The successful candidate has been chosen," Duffy said. “It requires a resolution of council to appoint the person and that’s what we’ll be doing (Tuesday) at dinner time. I can’t name the person, of course.’’

However, The Guardian has been told by more than one source that the successful applicant is Kelly.

The new CAO will replace interim CAO Donna Waddell, who stepped into the role after Roy Main retired in November.

Kelly will earn a salary between $115,000 and $127,000 as Charlottetown’s CAO. He’ll likely start sometime in late April.

The 57 applications for the job were whittled down to a list of 15. That list was reduced to five applicants and of the five, four chose to be interviewed for the job. Each of the four applicants participated in a 90-minute, face-to-face interview in Charlottetown. City council met with the final two successful applicants.

Kelly served as mayor of Halifax from 2000-12. According to media reports, he had been working as CAO in Westlock, Alta., but chose to come back east after his contract in Westlock expired in February.

In November, he told CBC News that he wanted to use the skills he learned as CAO of the central Alberta town in whatever he does next.

A spokesman for Westlock County praised Kelly’s work as CAO, telling the media, “It’s a tremendous loss for us and our citizens.’’

Kelly had been embroiled in a couple of controversies in Halifax. There was criticism over a $400,000 loan of public money for a concert in 2010, which was not approved by council or reviewed by the city’s legal department.

Kelly also faced heat for his performance as the executor of the will of a 91-year-old woman. He was one of 18 heirs to the estate of about half a million dollars. It took eight years for the estate to be resolved.

Kelly is no stranger to the City of Charlottetown, either.

In July 2015, council voted to accept pay increases of 12 to 22 per cent based on a report prepared by the former Halifax mayor.

Kelly says in the report that he met face to face with the councillors to ask them how much time they committed to the job.

“An extensive review of the compensation for council has not taken place in Charlottetown in the last four years,’’ Kelly says in the report, adding that it was time to bring compensation in Charlottetown in line with other municipalities across the country of similar size.