THREE RIVERS, P.E.I. - Jill Walsh is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
Walsh, the former clerk of council and finance officer for Montague, was officially hired as Three Rivers CAO during a recent council meeting.
Walsh, who began working for Montague in 2010, said there is still plenty of work bringing the large area together as one community.
“There are all kinds of pots bubbling,” said Walsh. “I think it’s going as well as we expected it to go. We’re not a full-fledged community (that is) already standing on our feet.”
Walsh said plenty of items, such as festivals, dances and similar events, were previously organized through community councils or subcommittees. Although amalgamation has been made official with a new council elected, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are committees or individuals in place now organizing those events.
In fact, the town is still working on some of its bare-bones bylaws. February saw council pass bylaws surrounding conflicts of interest, tax rate groups and borrowing powers, while March will likely see council pass motions governing grants, reserve funds, overdrafts and loans.
“We have to set the rules that we’re going to play the game by and flesh out the details,” said Walsh. “It is (still a transition), it’s developing and dealing with things that were ongoing before and now making it into Three Rivers.”
“We have to set the rules that we’re going to play the game by and flesh out the details. It is (still a transition), it’s developing and dealing with things that were ongoing before and now making it into Three Rivers.”
- Jill Walsh
While Walsh is now CAO of Three Rivers, former Montague CAO Andy Daggett’s days with the community are also not over.
While Daggett was originally offered the CAO position, council rescinded the offer in January after the two parties came to an “impasse” in salary negotiations.
However, during the same meeting that saw Walsh officially hired in February, council also voted to hire Daggett, former Georgetown CAO Dorothy MacDonald, former Lower Montague development officer Niall MacKay and former Brudenell CAO Linda Barry as development officers.
All four were previously working in those roles for their respective communities, although council’s vote has made their actions official.
Because those were the only four communities with their own development bylaws prior to amalgamation, development in other areas of Three Rivers will continue to be governed by the province until the new town creates an official plan.
At that point, Three Rivers could transition into having only a single development officer, which is what was proposed in a financial report prepared by MRSB for the amalgamation.
Mayor Ed MacAulay said the negotiations with Daggett were in the past and that the former Montague CAO was invaluable as far as experience and knowledge in area development and planning.
“As long as Andy wants to be a part of Three Rivers, we’d love to have him. And the other three as well, as far as I’m concerned there’s a lot of expertise in Three Rivers,” said MacAulay, adding that the combined expertise will be needed as the town creates a five-year plan. “Because they know their areas, they know what works and what doesn’t work.”
MacAulay also praised Walsh for her work so far in the CAO role, specifically pointing to her work done in crafting the town’s new bylaws.
“She’s off to a great start, she’s really working on our foundation like putting all the pieces together that we can grow from,” said MacAulay. “She’s very organized and has done an excellent job so far, and I’m very pleased with the work of our staff and also the work of our council.”