MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Lyons, Joe

Geographical Areas

Malahide, Middlesex Centre, Ontario


This research project describes the leadership roles of the municipal Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in smaller municipalities through two profiles of experienced professionals working in southwestern Ontario. The CAO is the organizational superior to all municipal employees. The position is the main conduit between council and administration, and is ultimately responsible for policy development and implementation. The profiles were developed through semi-structured interviews. On a much smaller scale, this replicates the method employed by Siegel in his 2015 book, Leaders in the Shadows: The Leadership Qualities of Municipal Chief Administrative Officers (University of Toronto Press). The profiles reveal that there is much commonality between large and small, with specific emphasis on change management.