Full disclosure: When Neil Carbone arrived in Prince Edward County in the fall of 2012, colour this corner as one of the ones who were a little curious as to what impact he would have on municipal operations.
Carbone was part of the Merlin Dewing airlift of staff that came from the hinterlands of Sioux Lookout and, given the waves the County’s former CAO had created just a few months into his tenure, the hire certainly led to plenty of scuttlebutt concerning exactly which direction the County of Prince Edward would be moving.
By the way, Dewing is the second past CAO, not the most recent departure in case there was any confusion.
Pretty soon, Shire Hall is going to have to start printing weekly programs like at the Wellington Dukes games so that citizenry and even lower level staff know who is in the building that week and who might have left to join another team.
While opinions vary to Dewing’s time at Shire Hall, there can be no argument the hiring of Carbone as Director of Community Development was a master stroke of genius and the positive impacts from the Sioux Lookout native’s involvement in municipal operations were like ripples from a large rock being heaved into a very quiet pond.
Carbone is a dynamic and energetic go-getter who managed to grow his reputation as someone that could develop and drive policy under a municipal hierarchy often loath to change.
As his profile grew and Carbone received more and more responsibility, his finger prints started to get all over the direction Prince Edward County was and is moving.
To turn it into a visionary exercise, at this point in his career in Prince Edward County Carbone looks like a trapeze artist riding a unicycle across a tightrope in the middle of the council chamber at Shire Hall, juggling softballs while members of the horseshoe occasionally bark instructions from either side.
One viewer might quibble with overall results but they couldn’t possibly argue with the preparedness, efficency and professionalism in which Carbone went about his tasks day after day.
Simply put, Carbone left the County of Prince Edward in a far better state than when he found it. His track record is impressive.
His leaving for the CAO position in South Frontenac Township is disappointing to us because now we can only wonder what the municipality would have looked like with Carbone as Shire Hall’s top staffer.
After the new CAO is hired, it will be curious to see if county council allows full autonomy to hire senior staff much in the way Dewing was allowed to operate.
No matter who has the final say on the hire, the next director must be dynamic.
Someone that can quickly gain the pulse of Prince Edward County.
Someone who can masterfully balance the wants of local heritage and culture versus the needs of the ever growing tourism sector.
Someone that can identify and address the interconnected issues of affordable housing and local workforce deficiencies.
Someone that develops policy that address all of those aforementioned issues, charts direction and creates and achieves goals that enrich and better Prince Edward County for all its residents, businesses and visitors.
Someone like Neil Carbone.