MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Cobban, Tim

Geographical Areas



This paper examines whether there is a standard career path for chief administrative officers (CAOs) in Ontario and if mayoral turnover has an effect on CAO tenure. A study of the 100 largest lower- and single-tier municipalities in the province was completed involving various research methods to discover the professional background of CAOs and changes in political actors. The findings reveal that a career path of single-city careerists or ladder climbers is prevalent in Ontario, with substantial turnover among the top appointed CAO position, and mayoral change appears to have a direct relationship on the tenure of CAOs.