Cathie O’Toole, the general manager of Halifax Water, will transfer back over to Halifax Regional Municipality to become its new top bureaucrat.

The municipality announced O’Toole as its new chief administrative officer in a news release Wednesday morning. Her first day is Jan. 1, 2023.

O’Toole has been general manager of Halifax Water since 2019. Before that, she was the chief financial officer at the utility since 2011. O’Toole, an accountant, worked for HRM for 10 years before that, in roles including chief financial officer.

Mayor Mike Savage praised O’Toole in the news release, saying it’s the right time and place for her “inspiring, collaborative leadership.”

“Her dedication to public service, as well as a proven track record of effective financial and operational management and delivering results, will be invaluable to our amazing staff as we continue to embrace the many opportunities and challenges of our fast-growing municipality,” Savage said.

O’Toole thanked Savage and the hiring committee, which included seven councillors, for the opportunity.

“It’s a true privilege to work with the extraordinary team of dedicated professionals at the municipality,” she said in the release.

O’Toole takes over for Jacques Dubé, who announced his resignation at the end of the year in May.

Halifax Water announced its chief financial officer, Louis de Montbrun, is expected to take over for O’Toole.

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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  1. I worked with Amanda Whitewood. Sat on HRM Pension Plan Committee with her. She was my Director in FICT. I left HRM, after 25 years. Retired. I was so pleased to work with her. She was respectful to her staff. And then she left. I wasn’t impressed that we lost her. I also worked with Cathie O’toole. I cannot wait, sitting back, watching the changes that Cathie must bring. Her first priority should be morale. It’s tanked. HRM employees should be proud to be civil servants. They have great jobs, benefits, pension. Not enough if being treated like crap by the people who sign their paychecks. Staff should not have to go public to be heard. The autocratic management should be sent home. That’s a start.

    It’s 2022. When your staff start seeking outside help, they are done with their leaders. Listen to the staff. Do not punish whistle blowers. When someone reports that they are a target of a bully, listen. Send the bullies home for a rest. Not the exemplary employees. HRM has a very large Human Resources Division. Fix it. Read the Auditor General reports from June 2022. There is a problem….it’s the Mayor ultimate responsibility. That’s may be why he hired Cathie. Plus she needs to bring costs in line. People first, then finances.

  2. My comment on Monday referencing Robert Ritchie as the new CAO was obviously wrong and I realised I was wrong when she was sitting in the CAO seat yesterday and her desk had a new ‘Chief Administrative Officer’ sign.