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Town of Fort Frances lands new CAO

Marcel Michaels will take over the position effective May 28
Marcel Michaels has been appointed chief administrative officer of the Town of Fort Frances, effective May 28, 2024.

FORT FRANCES — After more than a year of having an interim chief administrative officer (CAO), the Town of Fort Frances has found a new CAO.

A special May 8 meeting of town council approved the appointment, effective May 28, of Marcel Michaels to the position.

“We’re really looking forward to having him,” Mayor Andrew Hallikas said Thursday of the new hire.

He added that the town owes thanks to Travis Rob for his “outstanding” work as interim CAO since March 2023.

“Travis stepped up when council needed him and continued to provide stability, leadership and expertise during the lengthy search for a new CAO,” the mayor said.

Rob will return to the position of operations and facilities manager when Michaels starts as CAO.

Wednesday’s approval of Michaels’ appointment concluded a 14-month saga that began with the town’s human resources department posting the vacancy, Hallikas said.

The town’s postings drew “a lot of response,” he noted. “We had literally hundreds of responses.”

But many of those applicants weren’t qualified, and many others were outside Canada, he said.

“We went through a couple of rounds of that, and we just weren’t getting quality applicants.”

One qualified candidate was offered the job but then got scooped up by an organization with a more attractive offer, he said.

“So we decided that we would go with a professional search organization,” Hallikas said.

“And once we did that, things started to turn around. We were getting better-quality candidates because they were weeding them out for us and they had contacts.”

The firm offered up a list of candidates that the search committee whittled down to three for interviews.

“They were, all three of them, really good candidates,” Hallikas said.

“I personally would have been happy with any one of them, but we did settle on one that we like the best, one we thought would be the best fit.

“And that’s Marcel Michaels, our successful candidate, and we’re really looking forward to having him here and having him start.”

Faisal Anwar vacated the town’s CAO position in March 2023 after nearly two years in the position. Rob was named interim CAO shortly thereafter.

Michaels, who has a degree in political science from McMaster University, was mayor of Hinton, Alta., for six years until his resignation last August to become chief administrative officer of Consort, a village in central Alberta.

A news release from the town said a love of “boating, camping and enjoying the outdoors are some of what drew Marcel and his family to the Town of Fort Frances.”

The release also quoted Hallikas as saying, “Marcel comes highly recommended, and I and all of our council are looking forward to working with him.”

— NWOnewswatch