By Kirk Starratt
It came as a surprise to the municipality, but the County of Kings’ chief administrative officer has announced his resignation.
In a last-minute media conference called Feb. 20, Ashley expressed his gratitude to council for the tremendous learning opportunity, but cited a need to better look after his health, spend more time with his family and explore new career options for the reasons behind his decision.
Ashley has been chief administrator for less than two years. His resignation is effective March 29.
Ashley called it a difficult decision to make and was visibly emotional making the announcement. He admitted to having mixed feelings about leaving the municipality, but said when you have competing priorities, you sometimes have to make difficult decisions.
“I’ve come into close contact with all the tremendous assets of Kings County. They add up to an A to Z encyclopedia of great resources, most especially its people,” Ashley said.
Ashley said he wishes everyone associated with the municipality all the best success in the future.
“I’ll miss working shoulder to shoulder with the best managers and staff I’ve ever had the privilege to work alongside with. I especially respect the passion, commitment and dedication of our elected officials who’ve done their best to serve the public they represent.”
Warden Diana Brothers said she and council wish Ashley all the best in his future career endeavours. She said she has worked with him closely and his leadership and ability to think outside the box is greatly admired. Brothers said he would be missed very much.
“The positive impact CAO Ashley has made in the municipality is tremendous,” she said. “He came in at a difficult time. His passion, honesty and professionalism representing the municipality have been second to none.”
She said his approach has been motivating and refreshing to staff and council. He’s helped them navigate through some tough issues, she added.
Ashley said the timing of his resignation would fit well with the upcoming special elections. Having two new councillors arriving after the March 16 elections will create a brand new council chemistry.
“A new CAO should open up the opportunity for the team of new and familiar faces on council to pave their own unique road moving forward,” he said.
The county has not announced its plans to replace Ashley.
To watch a video of Ashley announcing his resignation, click HERE.