Maceachen named Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer

Leanne Maceachen of­fi­cially be­came Vic­to­ria County CAO at the March 5 Coun­cil meet­ing. True, Maceachen has been do­ing the work of a CAO since July 2017 when her pre­de­ces­sor Sandy Hud­son an­nounced his re­tire­ment. That didn’t make it any less ex­cep­tional to

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - CAR­OLYN BAR­BER

Fifty-nine peo­ple from across the coun­try ap­plied to be the next CAO of Vic­to­ria County. You don’t have to meet the other 58 to know Leanne Maceachen is the right per­son for the job.

The County hired Maceachen in 2014 as Direc­tor of Fi­nance, equipped with 18 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence as a fi­nan­cial an­a­lyst-turned-se­nior man­ager with Grant Thornton in Antigo­nish and Al­berta. While work­ing with Grant Thornton, she taught man­age­ment ac­count­ing and fi­nan­cial ac­count­ing part-time at her alma mater, St. Fran­cis Xavier Univer­sity.

As an un­der­grad­u­ate at St. FX, Maceachen started out study­ing sci­ence, but switched to business in her sec­ond year.

“I re­ally en­joyed deal­ing with num­bers. I think I've al­ways been a ‘num­bers per­son’. I like see­ing that they tell a story.”

Maceachen’s re­sponse to the un­avoid­able ques­tion - “What ad­vice can you of­fer young women en­ter­ing ca­reers in fi­nance?” – of­fers a glimpse into her lead­er­ship style.

“Know­ing when to ask for

help is im­por­tant. When you don't do that, you're not help­ing any­one else to progress along the way. When you de­cide to do every­thing your­self, you’re not giv­ing other peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to help and to gain ex­pe­ri­ence. Ask for help so that you can learn things and do it right the first time, but also get a good team to­gether and have oth­ers be in­volved in the jour­ney.”

As CAO, Maceachen quar­ter­backs for two good teams - she is the sole em­ployee of Coun­cil, while over­see­ing the County’s 43 ad­min­is­tra­tive staff.

“You have to find a way to make both sets of peo­ple happy. You want to do what Coun­cil asks, but you also must do it in a way that keeps your staff mo­ti­vated. You also have to know how things have hap­pened in the past, how they should be work­ing, and then di­rect Coun­cil. At times, you need to chal­lenge Coun­cil on why it is they want things a cer­tain way. You’re ac­count­able in both di­rec­tions. It’s like be­ing in the mid­dle of a teeter tot­ter.”

Maceachen has stepped into the role with a strong sense of what Vic­to­ria County ex­cels at, and where there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for de­vel­op­ment. She en­vi­sions the County as a four-sea­son tourist des­ti­na­tion that will gen­er­ate full-time jobs. Not an easy vi­sion to re­al­ize. It won’t all hap­pen at once, but in her mind, it is doable.

“I think we have to have a will­ing­ness on the part of res­i­dents to see the ben­e­fits of four sea­sons and the pros­per­ity that could be here. Then it be­comes a des­ti­na­tion for oth­ers.”

“If we hap­pen to have restau­rants that are open, then maybe we’ll get more doc­tors that want to come here be­cause there's a place to go to eat. And then other young fam­i­lies will move here be­cause there are doc­tors in town. There are lots of dif­fer­ent spinoffs.”

“We have a large geo­graphic area, let's get some busi­nesses work­ing here.”

Maceachen also sees op­por­tu­ni­ties for part­ner­ships and col­lab­o­ra­tions with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. She was part of the award-win­ning team who found a way for nine mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to share an ac­count­ing sys­tem that al­lows au­tho­rized users to ac­cess the sys­tem from any­where with an In­ter­net con­nec­tion. She is al­ready in touch with the new CAO of In­ver­ness County Keith Mac­don­ald to ex­plore ways to share ser­vices.

“I think there’s lot of change hap­pen­ing and we have to re­al­ize that change isn't a bad thing. I think that that will be the at­ti­tude with the new CAO of In­ver­ness County. And that's the at­ti­tude here.”

The first vis­i­ble change un­der Maceachen’s lead­er­ship is the ad­di­tion of an in­de­pen­dent cit­i­zen rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Au­dit Com­mit­tee. Not all mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lors are strong on fi­nances and au­dit­ing, nor are they ex­pected to be. Maceachen is look­ing for­ward to hav­ing an­other ‘num­bers per­son’ around the ta­ble.

Leanne Maceachen (pic­tured above) was named Vic­to­ria County's new Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer (CAO) on March 5, hav­ing served as the In­terim CAO since July 2017. Photo by An­drew Brooks / The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard.

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