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Olds CAO leaving after more than four years

Michael Merritt joined the Town of Olds in May, 2017, replacing former CAO Norm McInnis
mvt michael-merritt
Town of Olds chief administrative officer Michael Merritt has submitted his resignation. File photo/Submitted

OLDS — Michael Merritt, the town’s chief administrative officer (CAO), for four-and a-half years, is leaving. 

His last day with the Town of Olds will be Feb. 25, 2022. 

The town made that announcement via email late Monday afternoon.  

“The mayor and council of the Town of Olds announced today that Michael Merritt has submitted his resignation as CAO for the Town of Olds,” the release said. 

"Council expresses their thanks to Merritt for his years of service and commitment to the organization, and the greater community and wishes him all the best in his retirement,” the release added. 

Town staff were asked if a search has begun to find Merritt’s successor. 

An emailed reply said mayor Judy Dahl will meet with council “to discuss the order of their responsibility and the process that will be pursued to move forward.” 

Merritt became the town’s CAO on May 8, 2017, replacing former CAO Norm McInnis. 

Before coming to Olds, he had served as the CAO of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia. 

Merritt had also served as an assistant deputy minister in Alberta’s Municipal Affairs department and held various posts as a civil servant in New Brunswick and Ontario.

Just last May, Merritt had passed a job performance evaluation, undertaken by town council.

The news release listed several accomplishments during Merritt’s time in Olds including: completion and opening of the Rotary Athletic Park of Olds; a new municipal development plan; and a new intermunicipal development plan. 

Also during his tenure, a protective services division was created which oversees all protective services in Olds including police ambulance and fire department. A fire services master plan was approved, the emergency management plan was revamped and the Town of Olds Operations Centre was completed.

Merritt also oversaw the Town of Olds' response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Town officials were asked if Merritt’s departure was linked to the uproar during the past few months over the Town of Olds' decision to turn Olds Fibre Ltd. which oversaw O-NET, into a municipally-controlled corporation. 

That move was taken in order to recoup about $18 million in town debt and a line of credit. 

An emailed reply said, “no, Mr. Merritt has 40 years in municipal government and is retiring to embrace his future with his family and travel.” 

In the news release, Merritt thanked the newly-elected town council and previous two councils for their “guidance and support” during his tenure as the CAO. 

He also thanked Town of Olds staff for “their tremendous support shown to him since his arrival in 2017.”