City Selects New Commissioner of Finance From Within

Public Open House Budget Session

A committee made up of senior staff and one appointment from council, Mayor Provenzano are recommending an appointment within the corporation for the new head of finance for the City.

In a motion to council on Monday the appointment by Council of Shelley Schell as the new Commissioner of Finance and Treasurer, effective May 8, 2015, will ensure the continued delivery of these quality services, as well as provide for the orderly transition of responsibility in the Finance Department. This time frame will also allow us to complete the process of reviewing the current organization within the Finance Department and to fill the vacancy which will be created as a result of Ms. Schell’s promotion.

Bill Freiburger is retiring from the position this Spring along with CAO Joe Fratesi. The search for a new CAO is on going but at least one citizen isn’t happy about the quick promotion at City Hall.

Mark Brown, who heads up a community group, CitizensFirst who wanted to address the issue at the next council meeting. Brown says he has been ignored by the CAO and the council review committee. ” The Agenda Review Committee denied our request to appear as a Delegation at Monday’s city council meeting” Brown said in an email Friday. ” I asked all city council members to ensure that the name of the successful candidate was NOT included in the published Agenda just in case hundreds of people show up at the 4:30 pm meeting of City Council next Monday night. If that happens, City Council may decide that they want to postpone the announcement to see if the citizenry of Sault Ste. Marie wants them to go with the Treasurer that CAO Fratesi helped to pick, or wait until the next CAO gets here so that s/he can help to pick his/her own Treasurer from amongst the city’s talented and qualified personnel in our Finance Department.”

In its analysis of determining the right candidate for the job, the committee tells council,
It is important that the senior management of all City departments consist of capable and experienced individuals. The City is indeed very fortunate to have such individuals in all departments, including our Finance Department. It is imperative that we secure the best combination of qualifications, knowledge and experience to ensure stability and confidence in our financial operations and oversight of our total organization.The Commissioner of Finance and Treasurer position is required under the Municipal Act of Ontario. There is little doubt about the importance of this position to every department throughout our organization. It is imperative that this position be filled with the best possible candidate in a timely manner. The Selection Committee’s unanimous recommendation with respect to replacing Bill Freiburger is therefore brought to Council as a means of continuing to serve our City well into the future.

In accordance with the City’s Policy and Guidelines for the Recruitment and Selection of Senior Staff, it is recommended that Council authorizes the appointment of Shelley Schell as the City’s Commissioner of Finance and Treasurer, effective May 8, 2015 and that the Bylaw giving effect to this appointment be approved.

Despite the announcement, Brown is rallying citizens to show up Monday at City  Hall. ” (I have) a call for concerned citizens to appear on the steps of city hall at 3:00 pm on Monday March 9, 2015 so that they can let city council know what they want them to do, either a) Let CAO Fratesi help pick, or b) Let the new CAO help pick.” Brown said in an email.


  1. Nothing personal against Shelley Schell, David.

    I was at a budget input session where she had full command of each and every single minute financial item that I asked her about, AND without notes!!

    It’s just that Ms. Schell might not want to be seen as the pick that CAO Fratesi helped select from behind closed doors for the rest of her life David?!?

    Maybe Ms. Schell would prefer to wait for the next CAO to actually choose her without any input from outgoing CAO Fratesi.

    Just sayin’.

    In any case, City Council will have to decide if they want to go ahead with the pick on Monday, or set the passing of the By-law aside so that a new process with Ms. Schell going up against all comers conducted with the new CAO will be what City Council decides to do.

    I guess we’ll see on Monday at the City Council meeting.

    This is not a done deal, David, City Council still has to approve the deal that CAO Fratesi wants them to do.

    Best Regards,
    Mark Brown
    [email protected]

  2. Congratulations Shelley!
    On promotion well deserved.

    Also this is an historical milestone for Sault Ste Marie. seeing as Shelley is the first female commissioner of finance and treasurer.

    • Hey Troy,

      If you’re upset enough to show up, there’ll be hundreds of us showing up at City Hall starting at 3:00pm before the City Council meeting so that we can all go silently in to the City Council meeting at 4:30 to let our City Council know what we citizens want them to do.

      The more people the better, the fewer the people the less impact it’ll have on City Council. I hope to see you there on the steps of City Hall at 3:00 pm next Monday Troy.

      Show up then, or forever hold your peace.

      Citizens Unite, CU, later Troy.

      Mark Brown
      [email protected]

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