Top positions in Harbour Grace now held by women

Ashley Janes joins the Town of Harbour Grace as new town manager

Melissa Jenkins
Published on January 8, 2014
Harbour Grace resident Ashley (Rose) Janes has been hired as the first ever female CAO in the Town of Harbour Grace.
Photo by Melissa Jenkins

Only a month after the Town of Harbour Grace named a woman as its new facilities manager for the SW Moores Memorial Stadium, a woman has also been named the town's new chief administrative officer.

Only a month after the Town of Harbour Grace named a woman as its new facilities manager for the SW Moores Memorial Stadium, a woman has also been named the town's new chief administrative officer.

Ashley (Rose) Janes of Harbour Grace accepted the town manager position last week, two months after the position was vacated by longtime manager Lester Forward. Forward had held the position for more than three decades prior to retiring on Nov. 1.

A native of Harbour Grace, Ashley graduated from Carbonear Collegiate in 2001, Memorial University in 2005 with a Bachelor in Business Administration and returned to Harbour Grace in 2011 with her husband - Aaron Janes of Carbonear - and their young son Nathan.

"We wanted to have our child grow up here," Ashley told The Compass during a meeting Jan. 2.

Prior to moving back to Harbour Grace to work as a financial assessment officer for Eastern Health, she spent six years as an account manager at Royal Bank of Canada in Holyrood.

New beginning

Harbour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes told The Compass Dec. 31 that he is excited for Ashley to begin her new position, and believes her experience and knowledge will make her an excellent addition to the town.

"We are excited to have someone with her knowledge and experience joining our team," Barnes said.

The town hired AEM Human Resources - an independent firm from Mount Pearl - to interview candidates for the position. Ashley was the top selection.

Ashley will begin her new position at the town office on Water Street on Jan. 13, at which time she hopes to begin an open relationship with the town's residents.

"I am going to do the best job I possibly can and ensure I am available for residents," Ashley explained. "I'm confident in the (town) staff and hope I can draw from their experience."

The town's budget, which should be released in the coming weeks, has been progressing since December under the watchful eyes of Forward and Coun. Kathy Tetford, the chairman of the finance committee.

The budget is one part of the job Ashley will work on next year, but for this year, she will begin the job with a "clean slate."

One of her top priorities in her position is to ensure clear communication with the town.

"My main reason (for applying for the job) was to give back to the immediate community," Ashley explained. "I want to show there's opportunity here for young families, and that it's a place for people to showcase their skills."

Ashley is "ecstatic" to begin her new position, and encourages residents of Harbour Grace to submit feedback, questions or concerns to the town so she can do the best she can to help with a resolution.

Stadium update

Financial woes at the SW Moores Memorial Stadium should not be a concern for 2014, said Barnes.

While going through the financials of the stadium, town officials discovered the stadium owed $50,000 in taxes and fees.

The town council jumped to the aid of the stadium and paid the fees. But Barnes explained confidence in the stadium is at an all-time high.

"Jennifer (Janes) has done a lot already in her position," he said. "And I have all the confidence in the world that she will help this stadium make money this year."

Jennifer has been in the position just over a month, but is already implementing some new ideas for the facility, such as a Facebook page. But she does admit it will take time to get things on track.

"It's not going to happen overnight," she said. "Right now we are working on setting the groundwork for what we would like to see in the (new) regional facility."

Jennifer described some ideas she hopes to follow through with, focusing on what will happen with the building when the skating season ends.

"I'm hoping to begin programming (for children) when the ice comes up," she said. "But we need the resources to do that."

The resources she said are needed include workers, volunteers, funding and grants, but she is confident that these programs will have no problem getting off the ground and bringing traffic into the stadium.

Civic events recognition

The civic events committee in Harbour Grace ran many successful organized events this year.

The group helped sponsored seven families in the town for Christmas with $100 and $150 grocery gift certificates.

There were also 24 cold plates supplied to seniors on the south side, and a hot turkey dinner provided to some 40 seniors at the fire hall in mid-December.

Civic events raises their own funds and pays for each event they put off, including this year's sparkle parade, which saw some $1,800 in fireworks set off in Memorial Park on Jan. 1 by the local fire brigade.

Dozens of children and their families marched from the post office to the park with sparklers in hand in the freezing temperatures.

There were hotdogs and hot chocolate for participants at the fire hall to warm up after.

All supplies were provided by the committee, and Mayor Barnes said he was happy the town has such dedicated volunteers and thanked them for their hard work each and every year.

Snow Clearing

Barnes also explained he was pleased with snow clearing operations so far in the town this season.

"(Operators) were on the roads early Christmas morning ensuring they were clear," he said. "And if there is an issue, residents can contact me or the town office."

Although the snow clearing operations have been more frequent this year, Barnes assures residents it is not causing the town to borrow money or creating debt.

"I am available if anyone needs me for snow or any other issue. I will always return a call."