New Chief Operating Officer takes helm at Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority
Rich Garton, CTV Windsor
Published Friday, October 13, 2017 1:02PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 13, 2017 10:51PM EDT
There’s been a leadership shuffle at the top of the authority charged with building the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
André Juneau has taken over as the new chief operating officer of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. Juneau is taking over day-to-day operations of the authority from CEO Michael Cautillo.
Reports surfaced that Cautillo was terminated as the CEO, but officials with the authority confirm he is still employed by the WDBA and is on paid leave.
"it was necessary to put somebody in place while the chief exexuctive officer is on leave, so they asked me whether i would step in," Juneau said in an exclusive interview with CTV News.
The long-time bureaucrat will now be the guiding executive, supporting the senior leadership team.
Juneau has been working at the Bridge Authority for two weeks, getting more acquainted with the project. He was recruited into the role by the government, which he says is partly why he has no doubt in their resolve to complete the bridge.
"There should be no doubt about the government's commitment in this project," said Juneau. "The government's commitment is iron clad."
But Juneau wouldn't comment on the cost, estimated at more than $4-billion. He also wouldn't speculate on when the bridge may be complete, even though initial estimates suggest 2022.
Juneau has significant experience in intergovernmental relations, infrastructure policy, government decision making and public sector boards.
In fact, Juneau was brought onto the WDBA board of directors on Feb. 13, 2017. He has now resigned from his post on the board to assume the COO role.
"It doesn't change anything, and i'm hoping I can provide a new impetus to the project," Juneau said.
Juneau has worked in the public service for 35 years, including a stint as the first deputy minister of the federal department of infrastructure.
In 2012, Juneau received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for services to Canadian municipalities.
Windsor West New Democrat MP Brian Masse says this is a chance for the WDBA to build trust in the community.
"We've had nothing but delays and confusion and nothing but a closed door approach to this and it's not accountable," said Masse.
Masse would like to see Juneau revisit the public-private-partnership model of building the Goride Howe bridge, and instead consider a design-build process.
"It is the only barrier from stopping us from building a new bridge," Masse said. "This process started so long ago, and we don't even know what we're building yet. nobody can look at what we're building. we still don't know what it looks like. that's ludicrous!"