Mount Pearl North MHA Steve Kent is signalling he may be ready to make a career change, and more than a few insiders are hinting he may have his eyes on the top bureaucratic job at the City of Mount Pearl.
Salary range? $164,000 to $205,000 annually.
Fuelling the speculation is Kent’s reluctance to speak with the media in recent days, and a Facebook statement released Wednesday with this line:
“I have been approached in recent months about a few opportunities, and for my family’s sake, it would be foolish to be unwilling to listen and maybe even consider,” Kent wrote.
Elected to city council at age 19
Kent is a familiar face on the municipal and provincial political scene.
He was elected to city council at the tender age of 19, and served as mayor for four years beginning in 2003.
He’s represented the city in the House of Assembly since 2007 and held several cabinet portfolios, including deputy premier.
Kent has spoken publicly in recent months about his interest in once again challenging for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.
But he also hasn’t been shy about saying he would bow out if a “white knight” came along to lead the party.
Now there’s chatter he may be ready to leave elected politics altogether, and Kent is doing very little to muffle that noise.
‘I am always willing to talk about opportunities to help causes I believe in. But my family and my community come first.’ – Steve Kent statement on Facebook
“I am always willing to talk about opportunities to help causes I believe in. But my family and my community come first,” he said.
So here’s what has tongues wagging.
Mount Pearl is in search of a new chief administrative officer to oversee the city’s $50-million budget and a workforce of nearly 300.
Current CAO to retire in September
The current CAO, Michele Peach, is retiring next month.
The competition closed in late July and Mayor Randy Simms confirmed for CBC News Thursday that a shortlist of candidates is now in place and the current city council could name Peach’s successor before next month’s municipal election.
Simms would not say who applied, but said solid candidates from across the country are in the running.
Is Kent on that shortlist? He’s not saying, but promises to continue his “deep commitment” to the city.
“The citizens I serve are my top priority. That won’t change,” he wrote on Facebook.
And just in case you wonder if Kent has the qualifications to be CAO? His bio says he has a business administration degree and a certificate in public administration, and a masters degree in management.