Houghton named to top job 0
COLLINGWOOD - For more than 30 years, he's risen through the ranks of the local public utility; on Thursday, Ed Houghton had another title thrust upon him.
Houghton was appointed acting-chief administrative officer for the Town of Collingwood, following an in camera session of council. He has served as executive director of public works since July, 2000, following the retirement of engineer Ken Astill, and has headed up the utility - as Collus, and as the company's predecessor, the Public Utilities Commission - for nearly 25 years.
Houghton's appointment as acting-CAO comes days after the town and now-former CAO Kim Wingrove parted ways. The town has not indicated whether Wingrove quit or was fired.
Mayor Sandra Cooper said Houghton's appointment was to bring "stability" to the municipal operation.
"Ed brings a history of experience, and he certainly has the ability to move things forward in the role of acting-CAO," she said.
As acting-CAO, Houghton will head up a four-person management team that includes clerk Sara Almas, treasurer Marjorie Leonard, and Larry Irwin, the director of information technology for both the town and Collus.
"Ed is providing some stability to the operation, and we have to have someone steering the ship," said the mayor.
Cooper said the town won't be embarking on a process to hire a permanent CAO for the short term.
"For the time being, we'd like things to get settled down... and let staff have that stability before we proceed with a process of selecting a CAO," she said. "For now, we just need to have stability.
"We know that Ed will take up this challenge in a positive way."
Cooper acknowledged there will likely be some tough decisions facing the town in the coming months - especially with a comprehensive operational review planned this summer - and she's confident in Houghton's ability to guide the municipality through that process.
"With Ed as the go-to person, as the lead, any matters will get address," she said. "He understands he needs to support mayor and council, and the residents of the town."