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Pair of resignations leaving big gap at Muskoka Lakes

There are two big staffing changes to start the new year in Muskoka Lakes.

Chief Administrative Officer Steve McDonald has announced his retirement after four years in the post, and Fire Chief Richard Hayes is leaving for the London Fire Department.

McDonald arrived in September of 2015 and leaves the area with some mixed emotions.

“I am sad to leave, but excited to give back to my wife and children where I couldn’t be there in the past due to meetings and work obligations”, says McDonald.

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He and his wife will be moving to Brockville in the eastern Ontario area.

“Muskoka Lakes is blessed with an amazing staff”, says McDonald. “As I said to Mayor Harding in my notification, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the incredible staff who provide the services that our residents rely on every day.”

The feeling is mutual according to the Mayor.

“Mr. McDonald’s departure is obviously a loss for the Township. Personally, I would like to thank Mr. McDonald for remaining as CAO for the past two years (beyond his retirement age), as well as his three months-notice to ensure no gap in management of the staff,” says Harding. “Both of these decisions show his respect for the Township, his love of Muskoka and appreciation for the new council allowing time to fill this position.”

In December Hayes announced he would be returning to the London area where he will become Deputy Fire Chief of Operations.

The move is largely related to getting closer to his kids and grandchildren who live in the area.

“Chief Hayes’ resignation is one that will leave a big hole in our fire department,” says Harding. “Over his time at Muskoka Lakes, Chief Hayes ensured all Muskoka Lakes Fire Fighters were adequately trained with not only accreditation and certification but also professionalism that was second to none. Chief Hayes has put in place systems and processes that will ensure the long-term safety of our firefighters as well as the ultimate protection of our residents.”

(Watch for full-length stories about CAO Steve McDonald and Fire Chief Richard Hayes this weekend.)

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