An­napo­lis Royal look­ing for new CAO

Gre­gory Barr steps down af­ter four years to pur­sue new ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY LAWRENCE POW­ELL THE SPEC­TA­TOR AN­NAPO­LIS ROYAL

Chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer Gre­gory Barr is step­ping down af­ter four years with the town to pur­sue other ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties in Kings County.

An­napo­lis Royal Mayor Bill Mac­Don­ald would rather see him stay, but un­der­stands. In the mean­time, the town is look­ing for some­body new to fill boots that helped guide the town through some big changes in the last few years.

“The com­mu­nity is seek­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from qual­i­fied in­di­vid­u­als for the po­si­tion of chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer,” the town said in a job post­ing for the po­si­tion, “A crit­i­cal role for the sus­tain­abil­ity and growth of this re­mark­able town whose key in­dus­tries are re­lated to tourism, arts, and cul­ture which in turn sup­port a vi­brant ser­vice in­dus­try.”

Mac­Don­ald said the town is look­ing for a per­son who un­der­stands the sig­nif­i­cance of be­ing the CAO of a com­mu­nity of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

“We framed it that way and hope­fully peo­ple will rec­og­nize that, but I un­der­stand there are a num­ber of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that are ac­tu­ally look­ing for CAOs right now,” Mac­Don­ald said, not­ing it was Barr’s de­ci­sion to leave for a job op­por­tu­nity that was pre­sented to him.

“While we’re ob­vi­ously sad, be­cause he’s a fab­u­lous fel­low, he’s worked tire­lessly on our be­half, he’s got an op­por­tu­nity that’s been of­fered to him and he’s go­ing to take it,” said Mac­Don­ald.

He said peo­ple see the eco­nomic vi­tal­ity and abun­dance of the Town of An­napo­lis Royal and see Barr - as the chief ad­min­is­tra­tor -- as a big part of that suc­cess and are anx­ious to have him on their team.

“And so while it may be our loss, it’s some­body else’s gain, ob­vi­ously,” Mac­Don­ald said. “It speaks to re­ally the vi­tal­ity of our com­mu­nity and the kinds of ac­com­plish­ments we’ve achieved over the years and we will con­tinue to do.”

It’s been quite a ride for Barr since he moved to An­napo­lis Royal. Not only did he work on some amaz­ing town projects, he got mar­ried and started a fam­ily. He moves on to a po­si­tion with Kings County as di­rec­tor of fi­nance and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

“I’m re­ally pleased to have been a part of the wa­ter­front re­vi­tal­iza­tion, stuff that we did with the am­phithe­atre and the board­walk, get­ting the fund­ing at both the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial lev­els and mak­ing that pro­ject a re­al­ity,” Barr said in an in­ter­view. “I think that was talked about in town for a num­ber of years and it was nice to see that come to fruition.”

He said work­ing with the de­vel­oper that con­verted the An­napo­lis Royal Re­gional Academy into con­do­mini­ums was also a high­light of his time in An­napo­lis Royal, plus the con­ver­sion of part of ARRA for a new li­brary which held its soft open­ing just be­fore Christ­mas.

“Hope­fully we’ll have a grand open­ing be­fore I leave here Feb. 1,” he said of the li­brary pro­ject.

He said work­ing on those projects and help­ing the com­mu­nity grow eco­nom­i­cally in terms of the ameni­ties it has was re­ally re­ward­ing.

“We did a num­ber of other big cap­i­tal projects for wa­ter and sewer and stuff in the last few years,” he said. “We got some great fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties both fed­er­ally and provin­cially that kind of made it hap­pen. It’s been su­per re­ward­ing.”

Barr hinted at grant ap­provals for new projects that will be hap­pen­ing in the spring and into the sum­mer. He said he’ll be sad not to see those new projects through as CAO. “But I’m happy for the town,” he said.

Barr said think­ing about op­por­tu­ni­ties for his fam­ily was first and fore­most when he ac­cepted the Kings County po­si­tion. He said he’s an ac­coun­tant by trade and the Kings County of­fer came at a time that seemed right.

“I think change is what’s right. You have to find the right time for it, too. I think things have been go­ing well for the town and I hope I’ve been a part of mak­ing that hap­pen,” he said. “I’ve been in­volved with two dif­fer­ent coun­cils. I think it’s good to keep fresh. I think the CAO po­si­tion is one that you want to keep good con­ti­nu­ity but you want to keep things vi­tal­ized and en­er­gized in that po­si­tion.”

Barr will still be in his ground­floor of­fice at town hall un­til Feb. 1.

“I’m go­ing to do my best over the next few weeks to kind of help make sure the town finds a can­di­date they’re happy with, that helps them keep mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion,” he said. “I feel that’s where things have gone over the last four years and it would be a shame to not see it con­tinue go­ing that way.”

Barr is orig­i­nally from Wey­mouth but worked in Hal­i­fax Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity for about 20 years be­fore tak­ing the An­napo­lis Royal job. He said it’s been great be­ing so close to fam­ily, but tak­ing the Kings County job won’t af­fect prox­im­ity to fam­ily that much.

“It’s been great,” he said of his time in An­napo­lis Royal. “Every­body’s been su­per.”

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