Former Essex Councillor Puzzled by Town's CAO Turnover

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A former Essex councillor is asking questions following the announcement the town's CAO would be quitting.

Bill Caixeiro says residents should be curious as Essex has gone through five CAOs over the past decade including Russ Phillips who quit in 2017 followed by Tracey Pillon-Abbs who was terminated the same year.

As heard on AM800 Tuesday, current CAO Chris Nepszy has accepted a position with the City of Windsor.

Caixeiro says this amount of turnover at the municipal level is rare.

"The only reason why people would move from one spot to another is either for more money or they're not happy where they're at," says Caixeiro.  "So is it all coincidence or is there some sort of an underlying condition going on within administration at the office or a combination of administration and council?"

He says you want consistency in your top level administration.

"Whatever problem exists, you would hope that it gets resolved in short order because you want some stability at that top level of administration," he says.  "If you have too many people moving in and out of senior administration, things might get a little more cloudy."

Caixeiro adds he's worried the town may be getting a bad reputation when it comes to recruiting new talent.

"If I'm someone that looking for that position, I certainly might start looking up individuals that have left and having conversations," says Caixeiro.  "I certainly would want to make sure I'm not walking into some sort of problematic situation."

Nepszy has been the CAO in Essex since 2019 — he'll be replacing City Engineer and Commissioner of Infrastructure Services Mark Winterton who is retiring in September.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi