Emo’s (relatively) new CAO brings wealth of experience

By Daniel Adam
Staff Writer

Crystal Gray had worked as Emo’s deputy treasurer for just a few months before being appointed interim CAO last April.

Her 13 years of experience in municipal government would come in handy quickly — within Gray’s first week of being named interim CAO, the township declared an emergency due to extreme flooding.

“That keeps a person busy,” she says. “Never been a dull day.”

After serving in the interim role for about a year, Gray was appointed as Emo’s new permanent CAO at the end of April.

“Mrs. Gray is a welcome addition to the Township of Emo,” says Mayor Harold McQuaker. “[Her] enthusiasm and drive are much-needed additions.”

Though the job is full of challenges, Gray says she can’t complain.

She’s helping the municipality become compliant in a lot of outstanding issues. Gray says Emo is hoping to gain more funding — she’d like to have someone whose main responsibility is writing up grants. There are only two people in the office, and it gets to be a lot of work.

Eventually, Gray says they’re hoping to convert the former OPP building into the new municipal office and council chambers.

Before joining the Township of Emo, Gray worked as a financial advisor for Pwi-Di-Go-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services. She travelled to local First Nations communities, providing financial assistance and advice.

“I loved the job,” says Gray. “It was a great experience, great people that I met and worked with.”

Prior to that, she spent 12 years with the Township of Chapple as the deputy clerk treasurer, which has helped her during her time in Emo.

When going through the hiring process to become permanent CAO, Gray says it took longer than anyone imagined since it was shut down while council was in lame duck during municipal elections.

“Until the new council was (sworn in), nothing could move forward,” she says. “You cannot appoint a clerk or treasurer when you’re in lame duck — you’re not able to bind the future council.”

Once they resumed with new staff, the councillors were all brought up to speed. Then eventually, Gray was offered the position.
She signed the contract on April 19 of this year. The bylaw appointing her as Emo’s new CAO/clerk/deputy treasurer became effective on April 30.