MUSKOKA LAKES - Muskoka Lakes township CAO Walt Schmid has left his job to take on a new role with the Town of Bracebridge, following a string of departures from the township’s government.
The Town of Bracebridge officially announced on Tuesday, July 10 that it had hired Schmid to become its new director of public works. Schmid had been the CAO of Muskoka Lakes since 2007. In his new job, he will replace municipal engineer Ron Walton, who retired in May after a 25-year career.
“Although I’ve enjoyed my previous work a chief administrative officer in two municipalities, I am excited to be able to focus on an engineering and public works role in Bracebridge, and I look forward to supporting council and the CAO as the town’s director of public works,” said Schmid. “I look forward to working closely with the mayor, councillors, the CAO, the management team and all town staff to move forward with the priorities established by council.”
Schmid’s switchover is the fourth departure from the Muskoka Lakes township offices over the past nine months.
In November last year, Coun. Bob McTavish announced his resignation from council, citing “personal dissatisfaction.” Though Muskoka Lakes Mayor Alice Murphy had said McTavish resigned to spend more time with his family, McTavish denied in an interview with the Bracebridge Examiner that it was the primary cause of his departure.
That same month, the town axed parks, recreation and facilities manager Lise Saumur’s job, after council decided to restructure her position into one that features a greater emphasis on economic development. As CAO at the time, Schmid claimed there was no connection between Saumur’s departure and McTavish’s resignation.
On the last day of June this year, public works superintendent Len Troup officially retired from his post. His position has yet to be filled.
This week, this newspaper learned that assistant fire chief Jim Schneider had also decided to call it a career, having quietly left the fire department on June 27.
In an official statement on Tuesday, July 10, the township praised Schmid for having led staff through “complex issues” with “ongoing guidance and direction.”
Schmid said in the statement that he had enjoyed serving under the previous and current councils, and also appreciated working with township staff.
“A search committee will be established immediately with the objective of a seamless transition,” the statement reads.
Schmid is bringing to his new job over 24 years of experience in municipal government, along with stints in the private sector. Prior to becoming the CAO of Muskoka Lakes, he was the CAO for the Town of Huntsville. His work history also includes senior positions with the City of Kingston.