Counselling offered to staff after West Hants CAO charged with assault

Updated June 27

Carole Morris-Underhill
Published on June 25, 2014
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West Hants municipal employees are still grappling with the news that CAO Cheryl Chislett was arrested for assault earlier this week.

Chislett, 54, of Ashland Road in Martock, was charged with assault with a weapon June 24 after an alleged altercation on Saturday with a 57-year-old man. Although police are not releasing the relationship between the accused and the victim, sources have indicated it was her husband.

According to court records, she was released from police custody on a promise to appear, and has been instructed to abstain from having contact with the victim, possessing a firearm and consuming drugs or alcohol.

Her next court appearance is slated for July 15.

During a special council meeting June 25, the county's department heads requested a private meeting with council to discuss the situation. The meeting was held in camera as it was deemed a personnel matter.

“Basically, we just dealt with staff's concerns dealing with the situation we're going through here with our CAO,” explained Warden Richard Dauphinee.

“It's a sensitive issue with staff,” he said, noting they offered counselling at the municipal office June 24, and will have counselling services available to staff “every day as needed.”

While Chislett is away from her duties at the municipality, the county's director of finance, Jerry Wood, and director of recreation, Kathy Kehoe, are jointly covering the chief administration officer's position until council can hire an interim CAO, the warden explained earlier in the week.

“The CAO is an important person in our organization and it leaves a big hole,” said Dauphinee of Chislett's abrupt departure from her job.

“As far as what has happened, I have no comment. It's her personal life. We're going to be there to support our CAO and her family.”

West Hants has booked a special council meeting for July 2 in order to select an interim CAO.