Just three weeks remain before chief administrative officer (CAO) Allan Chabot’s last day at the City of Merritt, and the mayor and council are still considering over their options for replacing him.

It was announced by the City of Revelstoke about a month ago that Chabot had taken the CAO job in that Kootenay community.

To date, city council hasn’t decided if they will look within their ranks or outside city hall for an interim CAO.

Merritt Mayor Neil Menard said no city managers have offered to fill the soon-to-be vacant position.

Chabot’s last day will be August 7 and he starts his job in Revelstoke on August 17.

Council is considering changing the structure of its administration to include a corporate officer position in addition to the CAO job, but Menard told the Herald that decision isn’t final yet.

In this scenario, the corporate officer would provide administrative services to the CAO and other departments.

The CAO would still be city council’s one employee.

If the city hires a corporate officer, it wants to find someone who would also have some duties in the economic development field as well.

The city doesn’t want to hire a CAO, corporate officer and an economic development manager, Menard said.

The economic development manager position has been vacant since January when Jerry Sucharyna and the City of Merritt parted ways.

Chabot had been filling that role in addition to his own since Sucharyna’s departure.

Menard said the corporate officer decision is near the top of their to-do list.

“We have to make a decision on [if we’re] going to do that, and if we do, how are we going to do it,” he said.

Menard said he hopes to have a full-time CAO in place by the end of 2015.

Chabot spent a little more than a year as Merritt’s top official and the city can recoup some of the expenses it incurred to move him from the Kootenays to the Nicola Valley.

He had a two-year contract and leaving the CAO position early means a portion of the $15,000 spent can be paid back, Menard said.

“We haven’t even talked about it. People have asked us that question and we haven’t made a decision, but yes we can do that if we so desire,” he said.

The city can recuperate about $5,000 by doing this, according to Menard.

Mayor and council, however, has decided to work with Raven Hill Group — a municipal search and recruitment organization that helped bring in Chabot — to help them look for a new, full-time CAO.

After past CAO Matt Noble left in 2013, the position sat vacant for about eight months, with leisure services manager Larry Plotnikoff serving as the acting CAO until Chabot was hired in the spring of 2014.

Chabot told the Herald he didn’t intend to leave and was in fact invited to apply for the job.

“Opportunity presented itself,” Chabot said.

Revelstoke Mayor Mark McKee said that during his last term as the Revelstoke’s mayor (2003 to 2008) Chabot was in contention for their CAO job.

With the job opening up again in 2015, McKee told Chabot to toss his hat in the ring.

“I feel bad for taking somebody out of Merritt, but it’s a two-way street,” McKee said.

“He’s well respected in the industry and he’s well known,” McKee said.

Chabot told the Herald most of his work experience revolves around small, mountainous resort towns and he felt he had a good handle on the issues and opportunities for those types of communities.

Born in Invermere, moving to the Kootenays is a bit of a homecoming for Chabot.

“The mountains feel much like home for me.”

Before becoming Merritt’s CAO, Chabot worked in Fernie as that city’s top official.

Chabot said he’s enjoyed his time in Merritt and the people he’s worked with.