Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

Posted on June 23, 2022

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Position Details:

Employer: Town of Peace River

Location: Peace River, AB

Industry: Municipal Government

Position Outline:

The Town of Peace River is located 486 km north-west of Edmonton, and 195 km north-east of Grande Prairie.  It is the second largest populated center in north-western Alberta (approximate population of 6,620) and functions as a thriving regional service hub and trade center.

The beauty of the natural valley and hills offers the ideal setting for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts, while a wide range of businesses, shopping, dining, and lounges are plentiful throughout the community. 

Hiking, cycling, and walking trails are featured throughout Town, and campers enjoy an abundance of outdoor facilities, with others just a few minutes’ drive from Town, as well as picnic areas, interpretative trails, 9- and 18-hole golf courses, secluded fishing spots and much more.

For additional information, please visit our website at


Tender: Shaftsbury Water Treatment Plant Sodium Hypochlorite Treatment  Plant, Contract 1 - General Construction Contract - Town of Peace River



Reports to:                       

Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Five Councillors (Seven Total Council Members)

Direct Reports:               

Director of Community Services

Director of Corporate Services

Director of Engineering & Infrastructure

Human Resource Coordinator

Communications Coordinator

Legislative Services Coordinator

Total Staff:                        

70 FTE’s


Operating - $29.6M

Capital - $7.2M

Total - $37M


The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is the administrative head of the municipality, and provides effective support and advice to the elected Mayor and Council within the framework of interprovincial legislation governing the Town of Peace River.  The incumbent will provide strategic direction and leadership to all employees of the Town, and will be instrumental in developing, implementing, and executing policies, strategies, and objectives (as approved by Council) to address the immediate and long-term needs of the Municipality.  Vital to this role is the ongoing open communication and effective relationships between Council, administration, neighbouring municipalities, the Province, local businesses, potential investors, ratepayers, and the general public.

In Addition, the CAO Will Provide:

Advice, Guidance & Support to Council:

  • Support the Mayor and Council in determining policy by providing well-researched and objective advice, clearly articulated alternatives, ongoing counsel, and the presentation of information from staff recommendations, community groups, and citizens so that decisions are being made using effective and realistic strategies.
  • Act as a liaison between Council and Committees with municipal staff by facilitating the flow of information and oversight of sound process.
  • Advise Council on matters relating to finance, service delivery, legal issues, use of resources, operational developments, as well as any other matters arising from the business of any Board or Commission as they pertain to the Town’s interest.
  • Recommend to the Mayor and Council any new and/or revised policies and programs that are consistent with the strategic direction, including public and stakeholder input.
  • The CAO will maintain a relationship with Council based on trust, commitment and the ongoing willingness to communicate. 

Financial Management:

  • Work collaboratively with the Director of Corporate Services to ensure appropriate financial and administrative systems are in place that maximize the effectiveness of resource utilization within the objectives, policies, and budgets established by Council.
  • Prepare and present financial options for Council’s consideration, including the general operating budget, the capital budget, and the capital plan.
  • Develop short-term and long-term financial plans along with appropriate financial strategies as they relate to municipal finances and the ongoing sustainability of such.
  • Exercise direction and control and ensure adherence to the annual operating and capital budgets.
  • Regularly prepare and submit to Council estimates and variance analyses as they pertain to revenue and expenditures, capital programs, and municipal reserves.

Leadership & Management:

  • Maintain an effective organization structure and culture that reflects the changing needs of the organization that will ensure the ongoing development of a sound business operation while promoting organizational efficiencies within the framework of the strategic plan. 
  • Develop and lead an effective senior leadership team, foster others to develop their skills and potential while demonstrating the attributes of self-confidence, flexibility, commitment, and self-control.
  • Together with the senior leadership team, work to ensure that the municipal operations are functional and in line with the direction of Council.
  • Provide ongoing leadership and support to the staff.  In doing so, stimulate, motivate, guide, and encourage all employees to contribute fully to the realization of the strategic and operational objectives of the Municipality.
  • Together with the Human Resource Coordinator, oversee the general management of labour relations, staff evaluations, and human resource functions within the Town.

Customer Service/Public Relations:

  • Ensure that all employees remain committed to a high level of public and customer service (both internally and externally), and foster a dynamic climate that continually searches for new and better approaches towards fulfilling the Town’s mandate.
  • Participate as a representative of the Town in authorized municipal government associations, conventions, meetings and seminars.
  • Establish positive working relationships with the provincial and federal government, adjacent municipalities and their CAO’s, regional boards and committees, relevant municipal associations, businesses and industry, volunteer groups, as well as the general public.
  • Maintain a professional and positive presence within the community and take a leadership role in facilitating public participation processes.
  • Attend community events as required, which may include evenings and/or weekends.

Open and Transparent Communication:

  • Promote effective and transparent communication among Council, employees and the general public.
  • Guarantee that the media and the public are kept well-informed on relevant matters regarding the Town’s operations and initiatives through reports to Council, social media and other media contacts, outlined in an approved annual communications plan.
  • Provide background information to the media and refer political comment to the Mayor or appropriate Councillor.

Economic Development Support:

  • Work closely with the Mayor and Council, the recently formed Economic Development Committee (in conjunction with the Peace River Chamber of Commerce), as well as regional partners to implement an economic development strategy in order to promote local businesses and attract new businesses to the Town of Peace River. 
  • Promote an “open for business” mindset and always strive for new and innovative ways of doing things.

Strategic Planning:

  • Support the Mayor and Council on an ongoing basis in the formulation and updating of an annual Strategic Plan for the Town.  This plan will chart a future, identify critical issues, and set annual objectives and strategies.
  • Lead the development of the corporate strategic planning process for approval of Council and ensure that all key stakeholders are engaged in the evolution of the plan.
  • Ensure that departmental business plans are prepared and implemented in accordance with established timelines, strategic plans, objectives and benchmarks of Council.
  • Create a dynamic climate that results in the continual search for new and more effective approaches to fulfilling the Town’s mandate.

Resource Management:

  • Ensure that appropriate levels of resources (human and otherwise) are available and fall within the budgets as approved by Council.
  • Safeguard municipal assets with the provision of suitable insurance and appropriate protection against claims.
  • Appoint an acting CAO to stand in during absences of the CAO who has all of the powers, duties, and functions of a designated officer as required under the Municipal Government Act (MGA).
  • Ensure that systems that maximize the effectiveness of resource utilization are functional and in place within the policies and direction of Council.  For example: up-to-date job descriptions for all positions in the organization; effective programs for ongoing professional development of staff; and key performance indicators to measure employee performance.

Policy & Procedure Administration:

  • Ensure that administration and staff adhere to the MGA, policies set by Council, as well as relevant Provincial and Federal statutes.

Ongoing Academic and Professional Development Training Opportunities:

  • Keep apprised of governmental and community affairs (local and regional), and advise Council and staff of significant trends and upcoming issues.
  • Monitor changes in Provincial and Federal legislation, emerging issues and trends, and provide the Mayor and Council with advice and guidance relative to the potential impact on the Town.
  • Participate in all relevant conferences, conventions, and training sessions as approved by Council.

Other Duties as Required:

  • Ensure that workplace health and safety remain a point of focus and is updated on a regular basis to ensure that health and safety remains a top priority for the municipality. 


The CAO is expected to demonstrate the following competencies and behaviours in order to successfully meet the requirements of the position:

  • Solid leadership and direction through personal example while demonstrating professionalism and a sound work ethic at all times. 
  • The ability to lead and contribute to a cooperative and participative workplace environment with a cohesive team that promotes and sustains a productive workplace and excellent customer service.  The willingness to coach and mentor staff with the goal of resource retention and ultimately succession planning.
  • A comprehensive understanding of municipal finance and the budgeting process.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication, interpersonal, and public relations skills.
  • Unimpeachable ethical and moral standards, confidentiality and personal integrity, trustworthy, honest, and willing to follow the Town’s Code of Conduct.
  • The capacity to maintain confidentiality and deal with highly sensitive information.
  • A high degree of personal initiative, ability to prioritize tasks, work in high pressure and challenging situations, meet tight deadlines, keen sense for accuracy and attention to detail, and work both as part of a team as well as independently.
  • A commitment to ongoing strong regional working relationships and the willingness to always promote and support the Town of Peace River, as well as the overall region positively.
  • Being actively involved in the community, as well as a thirst and interest in growing the Town through economic development and other long-term sustainable initiatives.
  • Politically savvy with the ability to know and understand legislative and regulatory processes coupled with the intuition to read the political implications of recommendations and actions.
  • The ability to interpret bylaws, legislation, and policies as required.  Previous experience applying for, and managing grants.
  • Personal and professional stability, and is invested in promoting the same for the organization through professional development opportunities, coaching and mentoring staff, with the goal of succession planning.
  • A welcoming and calming demeanor, coupled with effective conflict management skills. 
  • Self-confidence and effective assertiveness with decision making.
  • The ability to research and implement best practices, policies, and procedures.
  • The ability to build consensus, lead change, and think creatively.  Innovative and open to consider alternative approaches.
  • A progressive and dynamic outlook with the ability to recognize and interpret shifting global, national and provincial realities and their potential impact on the local community.


The successful candidate will possess the following, or an acceptable combination focused on administrative leadership:

  • A post-secondary degree or diploma in Public Administration and/or significant and relevant direct involvement in senior management, coupled with executive leadership experience in a dynamic organization within a municipal environment.
  • A proven record of working effectively with elected officials, local government staff, community volunteers, boards and committees, and public participation processes.
  • Solid fiscal management experience and expertise, especially around planning and budgeting.  The ability to convey financial information in a manner that can be clearly understood by others.
  • Working knowledge of the MGA and other relevant municipal legislation, as well…a CLGM designation would be an asset.
  • An understanding of, and appreciation for, good governance.
  • Willingness to work in a union environment.


A competitive compensation package will be provided to the successful candidate.  This includes an attractive and competitive base salary, a second-to-none benefits package, and enrollment in LAPP (Local Authorities Pension Plan), as well as the supplemental APEX pension plan.  Details will be discussed in further conversations.


Moving to Peace River | Town of Peace River


James Davies  

Managing Director

DCG Executive Search Services Ltd.

(780) 758-9796

[email protected]

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