Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)

Posted on Dec. 2, 2022

Apply Now Contact Us

Position Details:

Employer: Municipal District of Bighorn

Location: Exshaw, AB

Industry: Municipal Government

Position Outline:


The Municipal District (MD) of Bighorn spans approximately 2,768 square kilometers of Alberta’s most beautiful and picturesque lands.  The MD is nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, and is located less than an hour directly west of the City of Calgary, less than 30 minutes east of the Town of Banff, and just north-east of the Town of Canmore.  There is an overall population of approximately 1,598 (2021 Federal Census), and the MD includes the hamlets of Benchlands, Dead Man’s Flats, Exshaw, Harvie Heights, and Lac Des Arcs. 

The MD thrives on its unique diversity.  For example, there are heavy extraction-based resource industries located amongst some of the most environmentally-sensitive lands in the province, while outdoor recreational pursuits co-exist in areas with agricultural, oil and gas, and logging activities.

For additional information, please visit the website at



Reports to:                 Reeve, Deputy Reeve, and three Councillors (five elected officials in total)

Direct Reports:          Director of Corporate & Community Services

                                    Director of Engineering & Infrastructure Services

                                    Director of Planning & Development Services

                                    Director of Protective Services

                                    Executive Assistant

Total Staff:                 31 FTE’s, 1 Contracted Employee, Fluctuating Seasonal Staff

Budget:                      Combined - $6.2M



In addition to the duties and responsibilities detailed in the Municipal Government Act (MGA), other legislation, municipal bylaws, and other duties as assigned by Council, the CAO will also be accountable for the following:

  • Recommending objectives, policies, and programs to Council for consideration.  Once approved, directing the implementation, and monitoring the progress of those policies and programs.  Evaluating same, and recommending improvements as required.
  • Coordinating departmental services activities, and recommending to Council any necessary changes among the senior leadership team…including approving and reporting to Council any significant changes involving other administrative positions.  Assigning work equitably and in a manner designed to achieve the required results.  Ensuring that adequate staff are available to carry out functions of administration and operations.
  • Directing the development of a comprehensive personnel program.  Recommending an annual salary program to Council, as well as salary adjustments for municipal staff.  Ensuring discipline procedures are administered equitably in accordance with approved policy.
  • Hiring, training, developing, and evaluating direct report employees and supervising their activities.
  • In conjunction with the Director of Corporate & Community Services, overseeing all of the Municipality’s financial resources.  Directing the development of policies and procedures involving budget expenditures, financial controls, and personnel.
  • Directing the preparation of capital and operating budgets and submitting same to Council with supporting documentation.
  • Coordinating the prompt and proper handling of all requests, enquiries, and complaints by the public.  Delegating these concerns to the appropriate department/program area to ensure excellence in customer service to the MD ratepayers, businesses, industry, and key stakeholders.
  • Authorizing payments of accounts within established guidelines.
  • Directing the execution of all documents, agreements, or contracts approved by Council, including purchasing contracts.  Ensuring the safekeeping of all official documents and correspondence, which includes maintaining a comprehensive record keeping system.
  • Attending all regular and special meetings of Council and other meetings as requested by Council (these can occur during the evenings and/or on the occasional weekend).
  • Acting as a liaison with representatives externally, such as agents, boards, commissions, consultants; and providing advice to Council committees as required.
  • Keeping informed about governmental and community affairs and regularly advising Council and municipal employees of significant trends, relevant grant programs, legislation changes, etc.
  • Acting as the:
    • Economic Development Officer and the staff liaison to the Governance and Priorities Committee.
    • Secretary to the Emergency Services Committee and the Subdivision/Development Appeal Board.
    • Deputy Director of Emergency Management.
    • Secretary/Administration Liaison to the Bighorn Corridor Environment Committee.



The successful incumbent will demonstrate:

  • Strong leadership skills with the proven ability to provide guidance and support while mentoring staff for succession planning purposes. 
  • A solid understanding of governance and the ability to work with people from all walks of life.
  • Political savvy.  A Willingness to mentor elected officials and ensure that Council is able to be successful in achieving its collective mandate.
  • The skillset required to develop ways to motivate and energize staff, while encouraging maximum productivity and commitment.
  • An open, supportive, and collaborative leadership style that promotes a team approach and leads others by example.
  • The ability to attract and build strong committed teams and ensure that the ratepayers are getting the best services possible.
  • The know-how to streamline processes and ensure efficiency.
  • Ability to successfully develop and implement the shared vision, goals and action plans.
  • Experience with managing organizational change initiatives, determining and setting goals and priorities based upon organizational mandates and initiatives.
  • Capacity to build consensus, lead change, and think creatively with an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • A progressive mindset with the ability to deal effectively with high-pressure, challenging, and ever-changing situations.
  • The aptitude to create and foster positive relationships with neighbouring municipalities, and continue to work towards shared services for the betterment of the geographical region.
  • Solid experience in, or understanding of, municipal finances.  Must understand budgeting, finance, grant administration and information reporting.
  • A comfort level in the negotiation process, and the goal of achieving a win-win scenario.
  • Not easily swayed by vested interests when representing, or negotiating on behalf of the MD.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with considerable presence and energy.  Trustworthy, honest, ethical, and courteous.  Direct and to the point.
  • Proven open and transparent communication practices (oral and written) to staff, contractors, vendors, ratepayers, and Council.  Able to listen.
  • Unimpeachable ethical and moral standards, confidentiality and personal integrity.
  • A passion for public service.



The successful candidate will possess the following, or an acceptable combination focused on administrative leadership and solid governance experience.

  • A post-secondary degree with a thorough understanding of local government, or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and academic/technical qualifications.
  • A minimum of five years’ experience in a senior leadership position ideally in a municipal setting.
  • Proven ability to effectively work with elected officials, governing boards, committees, professionals, front-line personnel, businesses, industry, and the general public.
  • A thorough understanding of municipal operations (i.e., municipal finance, infrastructure and public works, planning and development, legislation, etc.).
  • Previous exposure to, and understanding of, economic development, land development, land use planning, leadership coaching, etc.
  • Working knowledge of the MGA, other relevant municipal legislation, and municipal services.
  • Previous grant writing exposure.
  • A willingness to grow professionally, and seek on-going professional development opportunities (i.e., through courses, training, convention/conference networking events, etc.).
  • Completion of the NACLAA program, or the desire to work towards it.  A CLGM designation would be an asset.
  • Community minded with the willingness to become involved in the local community.



A competitive compensation package will be provided to the successful candidate.  This includes a competitive base salary, a comprehensive municipal benefits package, and LAPP (Local Authorities Pension Plan).  Details will be discussed in further conversations.



James Davies                            

Managing Director

DCG Executive Search Services Ltd.

Phone: (780) 758-9796

E-mail: [email protected]


Apply Now