After much discussion, city council chose Monday to pick a five-member committee to search for a successor to Joe Fratesi, outgoing Sault Ste. Marie chief administrative officer.
The committee will consist of Mayor Christian Provenzano and councillors Susan Myers, Matthew Shoemaker, Marchy Bruni and Ross Romano.
It was originally recommended that the mayor and only two councillors would form such a committee.
Council also agreed to the hiring of a consultant to work with the committee in choosing a new CAO.
Council's decision on a five-member committee came after it passed a resolution asking Peter Niro, the city's human resources commissioner, to prepare a report examining whether the CAO position should be filled at all.
The resolution was put forward by Ward 6 city councillor Joe Krmpotich as a cost saving measure to consider.
Niro will report back to council on that question in a month, while the committee concurrently carries on with its own work.
Fratesi announced last Monday his retirement as CAO effective April 30, 2015.
Fratesi told council he felt honoured and privileged to have worked with city staff and elected officials in his 36-years as city councillor, mayor and CAO.
Fratesi said he will not "go into hibernation" and intends to stay involved in the community.
Ward 1 city councillor Steve Butland said he recalled serving as Sault Ste. Marie MP in Ottawa when council's English language resolution, passed then overturned by provincial courts when Fratesi served as mayor, and serving as mayor himself when Fratesi was hired to be CAO in what became a conflict of interest controversy, but said "these were two incidents among many positive incidents."
Butland described Fratesi as "a great colleague and friend" who will be missed.
Ward 5 city councillor Marchy Bruni thanked Fratesi for being a help to students who worked for the city during summer holidays.
Mayor Christian Provenzano thanked Fratesi for his guidance in the period after winning last fall's election and transitioning to the mayor's office.
(FILE PHOTO: City CAO Joe Fratesi seen speaking during the Port of Algoma announcement last fall. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday)