Al Fazio

Outgoing county council members say goodbye, returning members offer thanks

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 2014-18 term of Essex County council is wrapping up with the final meeting of the term now having been held.

The five outgoing members said farewell while other members that are returning also offered thanks to administration, fellow county council members and Warden Tom Bain. It was also the last meeting as warden for Bain, although he is returning to Essex County council for the 2018-22 term due to him still being mayor of Lakeshore.

Saying goodbye were Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Leamington Mayor John Paterson, LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya, Essex Mayor Ron McDermott and Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio. DiPasquale, Antaya and McDermott are retiring from politics while Paterson and Fazio were not successful in their re-election bids.

“It’s been a great pleasure for me to be here these last four years,” said DiPasquale. “I learned a lot of things I didn’t know. It’s been a great ride for me.”

DiPasquale thanked county council and administration, stating “I think we’ve done a pretty good job working together.”

Paterson recalled his early days on county council when he was told to take his Leamington hat off and wear a county hat instead. He noted he brought up questions that may have gone against the status quo but did so to for the benefit of the county, adding he never felt a “negative vibe” from anyone for doing so.

There were “battles” at points, Paterson added, but “when we were done, we were done.” He also recalled the times when the county was unified, including when meeting with ministers from upper levels of government on issues.

Antaya, the current deputy warden, thanked his own residents for electing him to begin with.

“It was a thrill serving the community I grew up in. It was the crowning moment of my career,” said Antaya.

Antaya thanked the administration at the county level, noting the transition between CAO’s was “seamless” after Brian Gregg retired and Rob Maisonville took over.  He called Bain a “terrific leader” and told him “you represented the county well.”

“I enjoyed working with every one of you,” Antaya told his fellow county council members.

McDermott got choked up at points during his farewell address, thanking his community for his 15 years of service. He also thanked his deputy mayor Richard Meloche, who McDermott said has been there the entire 15 years with him. Meloche will be returning to county council next term.

“The staff is unbelievable,” McDermott said of the county’s administration, and also expressed thanks to his colleagues and Bain.

Fazio thanked Bain for being his “mentor” in both Lakeshore and at the county level. He also expressed gratitude to administration, his family, his fellow county councillors and the residents. He also thanked members of the committees he has sat on.

“It’s been a great eight years on county council,” said Fazio.

The returning members to Essex County council include both Kingsville and Tecumseh mayors and deputy mayors with Nelson Santos and Gord Queen representing the former and Gary McNamara and Joe Bachetti representing the latter.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo will be returning as well. Hilda MacDonald and Marc Bondy will also be returning, but will be moving up from deputy mayor to mayor in Leamington and LaSalle respectively.

DiCarlo also expressed thanks to his colleagues for their hospitality when he first arrived four years ago. With the town going through severe financial challenges, DiCarlo recalled being given advice by many other members of county council.

“The support was truly overwhelming,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo also noted he was welcomed right from the start, despite not having much political experience when he was first elected. He wished outgoing members well and said he looks forward to working with the incoming county council to “continue to work together to make Essex County the best place to be.”

MacDonald noted she was the only female member of county council these last four years but said she was treated equally and with respect during the term. She thanked Bain for making her feel welcome and comfortable.

“You treated me well,” said MacDonald, who will be one of three women on the next Essex County council.