ST. MARY’S – David Hutten, recently of Hartland, N.B., will take over as chief administrative officer of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, effective August 15.
Hutten, who has been the CAO of the New Brunswick community since 2019, replaces the retiring Marvin MacDonald, who has served St. Mary’s in the role since 2015.
“He will be a great fit,” said Warden Greg Wier, noting that Hutten prevailed in a stiff competition that saw more than 200 applications from across Canada and Europe for the job, one advertised through the Association of Municipal Administrators of Nova Scotia (AMANS) and Municipal World online in early April.
“It’s a perfect step for me,” said Hutten, who is married with three school-age children. “We’re looking forward to putting roots down there. Ultimately, we want to live in a community that’s right near the ocean.”
Hutten brings extensive and diverse public administration experience to the position. Born in Ontario, he’s holds a BA from the University of Manitoba and has completed graduate studies in political and continental philosophy.
Before becoming CAO of Hartland, he was chief of staff for a Member of Parliament from Winnipeg at the House of Commons in Ottawa (2011-2014).
“After that, I took on a couple different initiatives,” he said. “One of them was an opportunity to go to France for a number of months and do research on behalf of the Canadian government. When I returned from that, I did a couple of different things. I was the general manager of a company in Ontario for a while.”
Ultimately, he said, the CAO role in Hartland was the ideal “niche from my purview, and I decided to take on another role in a different community.” The move to St. Mary’s, he noted, fulfills an ambition to settle in Nova Scotia. “It was actually our number one choice, so when the St. Mary’s opportunity came up, it just checked off all the boxes for interest in the family and, of course, professionally.”
Hutten joins the municipality at an important juncture for the community. The district’s first land-use bylaw and municipal development strategy in 15 years – currently being refined by Halifax urban planning studio Fathom – is expected to drop within a matter of weeks.
“It will be very interesting to see what comes back from that study and how they make the recommendations,” Hutten said. “Definitely, we’ll be working very closely with council together on those documents and on other strategic development plans to ensure that a number of projects and interests of council can be moved forward. There’s a lot of potential and will be exciting to get moving on some of those fronts.”
In the meantime, Marvin MacDonald will stay on as CAO in an interim capacity until Hutten settles into the position permanently. In his official retirement letter to district council, he said, “I am aware of the many challenges facing Nova Scotia municipalities and communities, and I believe that the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s is positioned to successfully take upon these challenges.”
Said Hutten: “We’re excited to get there, get the kids settled. St. Mary’s is a beautiful mix of freshwater and ocean waters – rivers and streams. So yeah … it’s all there.”