Former Halifax mayor looks forward to new opportunity in Charlottetown

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 29, 2016

Peter Kelly

©Submitted photo

Former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly says he is looking to turn the page in his new role with the City of Charlottetown.

Kelly was officially appointed chief administrative officer on Tuesday in a 6-0 vote by city council.

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT PETER KELLY WANTS TO DO AS CAO

RELATED: CHARLOTTETOWN MAYOR SAYS CITY DID HOMEWORK BEFORE IT HIRED NEW CAO

Kelly served as mayor of Halifax from 2000-12 before leaving office, dogged by controversies such as the concert scandal where a promoter was given a $400,000 of public money for a Black Eyed Peas concert in 2010 which was not approved by council or reviewed by the city's legal department.

There was also criticism over his role as the executor of a Bedford woman's will, which took eight years to resolve.

Kelly said he is focusing on the future, not the past.

"There are those who will focus on the negative or what they perceive, but I will be focusing on the positive,'' Kelly told The Guardian in a telephone interview. "I have had many positive successes in my career and I will continue to bring those things forward and do what I can to improve the quality of life (in Charlottetown).''

Kelly doesn't formally take over from interim CAO Donna Waddell until May 1, but he actually starts April 18, spending sometime time job shadowing Waddell and getting brought up to speed on all city files.

Voting in favour of the new hire were councillors Mike Duffy, Greg Rivard, Bob Doiron, Melissa Hilton, Terry MacLeod and Kevin Ramsay. Councillors Mitchell Tweel, Eddie Rice, Terry Bernard and Jason Coady were absent.

Kelly also says that his hiring has nothing to do with the report he prepared last July that led to pay increases for Charlottetown councillors of 12 to 22 per cent.

"One is not connected to the other. I was a consultant and I have done reports before. As long as it's solid research, I see no reason to find fault. For me, as long as you are doing your due diligence, making sure that you are being open and truthful . . . that the information is complete, then that is part of the process.''

Kelly, who spent the past 18 months as CAO of a municipality in Alberta, has a master of business administration from Saint Mary's University.

He also has connections in P.E.I.

His grandfather was an Anglican minister in Cherry Valley, he had family living in Newtown Cross and currently has a brother living in Charlottetown.

Kelly said his new job as CAO in Charlottetown obviously means he won't be running for his old mayor's job in Halifax this fall.

He preferred, instead, to jump into a new career in Charlottetown.

"It was an opportunity that presented itself . . . one that brings challenge and change, and that's always good.''

In his new position, Kelly will be part of an evaluation process for the first six months. Council can cut ties with him if it chooses to in that time frame.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

New idea

While Charlottetown's new CAO says building a strong relationship with city council is his first priority, Peter Kelly says he's also thinking about new ideas.

One is opening discussions with the province over creating a charter that would formally recognize the city of Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.

Kelly said depending on how a charter is developed, the city could end up with additional revenue.