retirement

DiPasquale announces he will not seek re-election

 

By Ron Giofu

The town will be electing a new deputy mayor Oct. 22, as the current deputy mayor has decided to step out of the political arena.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale made it official Monday night that he will not seek re-election. His political career lasted eight years, as he was elected as a councillor in 2010 and won the deputy mayor’s job in the 2014 municipal election.

In a statement read during the “new business” portion of Monday’s town council meeting, DiPasquale said that “after careful consideration and discussion with my loving wife and family, I would like to announce that I will not be seeking re-election this fall and (will) be spending more time with my friends and grandchildren. I will also be looking forward to casting my ballot in this year’s election.”

DiPasquale said he enjoyed serving the town as deputy mayor and as a member of Essex County council.

“I have also been truly blessed in serving this community as a municipal employee and also a police officer,” he said.

DiPasquale had a 35-year career with the Amherstburg Police Service, retiring as deputy chief in 2009. His community involvement has also seen him serve with local service clubs and non-profit organizations and has resulted in numerous awards and honours over the years. He recalled starting to work for the town at age 16, grooming baseball diamonds under the direction of former administrator Tom Kilgallin.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale announced May 14 that he will not seek re-election.

“During my years of employment with the Town of Amherstburg and as an elected official, I have learned that this community is truly special and resilient. We have persevered through much of our debt load adversity and began updating our aging infrastructure,” he said. “We also began rebuilding our management structure and I am grateful for being part of this and serving together with all the other council members.”

DiPasquale also thanked CAO John Miceli, the management team and employees “that kept this great municipality solvent, the neighbourhoods and roads safe, the water flowing and clean and our parks active. It has been a truly superb performance and thank you.”

Wishing the next deputy mayor and council members well, DiPasquale said he wishes they will have “the same wonderful experiences and lifetime of memories I have acquired” by serving the community.

Following his statement, DiPasquale was met with a standing ovation from all in attendance at Monday night’s meeting, including his fellow council members. Several members of DiPasquale’s family, including his wife Carmen, daughters Luisa and Sandra, their grandchildren as well as other loved ones were in attendance.

Local bank says farewell to long-time manager

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

TD Canada Trust has said farewell to a long-time manager.

Although she spent the last six months of her career at the Essex branch, the Amherstburg TD Canada Trust branch celebrated the career of Janet Willoughby last Friday afternoon. Willoughby spent much of her career in Amherstburg and is also a well-known volunteer in the community. She retired from TD Canada Trust April 13.

Willoughby said she retired with just shy of 37 years of experience.

“I started right out of university and went to the management trainee program,” said Willoughby.

After spending a year-and-a-half in London, she came to Windsor-Essex County.

“I came to this area and have been in this area ever since,” she said. “I’ve probably been in every branch twice.”

Janet Willoughby celebrated her retirement with the staff at the Amherstburg branch of TD Canada Trust last week. Her official retirement date was April 13 and her last branch was Essex location, though she spent the bulk of her career in Amherstburg.

Willoughby said she has been a branch manager since 1990 and at three different times in Amherstburg, stating she spent the most time during her career at the Amherstburg branch.

Retirement hasn’t really hit her yet, as Willoughby remarked “it feels like a vacation right now.”

As for what she will do in retirement, Willoughby said she hopes to travel and she also plans on becoming more involved with the community.

“I’ll be able to volunteer a lot more than in the past,” she said.

Willoughby added she misses the customers and her co-workers.

“I miss the people,” said Willoughby. “I miss the customers and I miss the people I worked with the most.”

Community Living Essex County, friends and supporters bid farewell to retiring executive director

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After a 32-year career as executive director with Community Living Essex County (CLEC) and 45 years total within the developmental services (DS) sector, Nancy Wallace-Gero is entering retirement.

And last Friday night, CLEC staff members as well as those the agency supports, dignitaries and members of Wallace-Gero’s family came out to celebrate her career.

A retirement celebration was held at the Ciociaro Club where Wallace-Gero was honoured with words like dedication, passion, intelligence, drive and role model coming up early and often to describe her.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak added words like “amazing” and “loving” in describing Wallace-Gero.

“You are the best of the best,” he said. “You are an angel that walks among us. We love you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey said when she was first elected, people would come to her constituency office seeking help and one of the places they were directed was Community Living Essex County. Ramsey said they were referred to CLEC with complete confidence as it was known thanks to Wallace-Gero and the team there that people would get the support they needed.

“Congratulations on reaching the next phase of your life,” said Ramsey.

Nancy Wallace-Gero (second from right) accepts awards from Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Cheryl Hardcastle. Wallace-Gero retires as Community Living Essex County executive director April 13.

Windsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle said Wallace-Gero is “an inspiration to the work we do” and that she would be missed. She added that Karen Bolger, who is taking over as executive director following Wallace-Gero’s official retirement date of April 13, will continue the great work started by Wallace-Gero.

David Hingsburger, a friend and colleague of Wallace-Gero as well as being an author and speaker on issues regarding developmental disabilities, noted they have known each other for 32 years and have made many changes over the years. He said organizations are only as good as their willingness to make changes and noted CLEC has never been afraid to make changes to benefit the people they support.

Hingsburger added that Wallace-Gero will take her passion and dedication into retirement with her “and continue to be the amazing person she has always been.”

Community Living Ontario CEO Chris Beesley said he has learned a lot of lessons from Wallace-Gero since assuming his post five years ago and said she is a leader who is committed to the cause for all the right reasons. Wade Durling, chair of the Provincial Network, added that Wallace-Gero’s contributions can be seen throughout the DS sector.

“You’ve made many contributions and the sector is better for it,” Durling told Wallace-Gero. “You have left a real legacy. We will miss you and never forget you.”

Retiring Community Living Essex County executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero (right) was “crowned” with a tiara from director of human resources Claire Market (left).

Anne Bilodeau, chair of the DSHR Strategy, added that CLECL “walks the talk” thanks to Wallace-Gero and the team. She stated that everything Wallace-Gero did during her career was selfless.

Wallace-Gero was also honoured by Kelly Runnals from the Ensemble parent group, fellow executive directors and the CLEC board, the latter having presented her a gift of jewellery two nights earlier at their board meeting and a honourary lifetime membership Friday night.

Members of Wallace-Gero’s family also honoured her, including daughters Kerri and Kristy, granddaughter Alexa and grandson Evan. Kerri called her mother “my definition of a success story,” noting Wallace-Gero’s adoption out of foster care at age five and Wallace-Gero being instilled with a need to help others and compassion for those with disabilities or other needs.

“Her passion for her work and her passion for helping others is contagious,” Kerri said.

Kristy added that her mother taught values and about social change, to be a leader and to challenge the status quo. Another lesson was to be humble.

“From the beginning, she was destined to achieve great things,” said Kristy. “She shines at everything she does. My mom will continue to shine on into retirement.”

Alexa noted her grandmother has changed lives and has instilled empathy in others for those with intellectual disabilities. She added that Wallace-Gero has taken on many challenges in her career, most of them to better the lives of others.

“I’m very thankful Nancy is my grandmother,” added Evan. “She is kind and loving. When people ask me who my hero is, I say my grandma.”

Nancy Wallace-Gero (centre) is surrounded by her staff during an April 6 retirement celebration. She officially retires from her job as Community Living Essex County executive director April 13.

Bolger said it was difficult to believe Wallace-Gero’s retirement has arrived.

“Community Living Essex County and Nancy are synonymous with each other,” said Bolger.

Noting the agency was struggling when Wallace-Gero took control in 1986, Bolger said Wallace-Gero has helped turn it around to where it is now vibrant, progressive and innovative.

“She is a consummate professional,” Bolger said of Wallace-Gero. “She is a person who talks the talk and walks the walk. She is a fierce advocate who gets the job done. She has never passed up an opportunity to move the agency forward. She has been my mentor.”

Wallace-Gero concluded the evening by saying how much she has enjoyed her career with CLEC.

“I am just so grateful to everyone,” she said.

Noting she has worked for 32 different boards of directors over her career, she credited them with having the leadership to move the agency forward. She also praised the management team for their work in helping to grow the agency and provide ongoing help to those with intellectual disabilities.

Wallace-Gero also thanked Ensemble and New Day, the latter being a group of self-advocates, and said giving up directly helping those with disabilities has been the hardest. She also thanked her family and friends, whose support has been tremendous, she said.

“I take with me into retirement memories of each of you. I have had the best job ever at Community Living Essex County,” she stated.

Essex County council bids farewell to CAO

 

By Jolene Perron

 

“Before I ask for adjournment, I just want to note that this is the last meeting for our CAO Mr. Gregg.”

Warden Tom Bain stood in front of Essex County council last week with a plaque which read “Essex County Council resolves to extend our sincere appreciation and best wishes to Chief and Administrative Officer Brian Gregg for your commitment, guidance and outstanding leadership to the council and to the staff of the Corporation of the County of Essex and for your 30 years of service to the residents of Essex County. May the blessings of good health, the joy of good friends, a loving family and the contentment of a job well done fill your life with happiness. Congratulations on your retirement.”

The new CAO of the County of Essex is Robert Maisonville. Maisonville assumed his new duties last Thursday.

Warden Tom Bain presents retiring CAO Brian Gregg with a plaque, addressing his 30 years with the County of Essex during the Sept. 6 council meeting.

Bain continued to explain what Gregg was like on job. He explained that he’s serious, he digs down for the information needed, he gets the answers and he’s tremendous to work it.

“As with most people there is another side of Brian and I didn’t really believe it until one night I was in Lakeshore arena and I see this guy playing hockey,” explained Bain. “When you put a helmet on someone and a pair of skates can it ever change someone. I thought, is this our CAO out there on the ice, in that little box on the side?”

Jokingly, Bain recalled the first time he saw Gregg play hockey, bringing a light-hearted bit of cheer to what was a heavyhearted farewell.

“I do want to certainly say on behalf of all of county council what a tremendous job you’ve done,” said Bain. “For 30 years you have led us and working with you and I know it’s teamwork, but you’ve got us into a position that as a county we are strong and we don’t have the debt there, we are able to meet any problems that come head on and I know that you and I have sat down a number of times and I can honestly only think of one time when I didn’t see eye to eye and I gave into you anyways.”

Gregg followed up Bain’s speech with one of his own. He laughed with agreement that during his time playing hockey he most certainly has spent a little too much time in the penalty box.

Officially, Gregg explained September 29 will be his retirement date but with some of the vacation time he has available, he tentatively scheduled Friday as his last day in office. However, he did have a Monday morning meeting scheduled. With some loose ends to tie up before leaving, he plans on being in and out of the office between now and Sept. 29, however the Sept. 6 county council meeting would be his last.

An honour and a privilege is how Gregg described his service to the County of Essex as the CAO, a position which he has held for 19 years, closing out his 30 year career with the County of Essex, an accomplishment he said he is extremely proud of. He is also proud of what County of Essex has been able to accomplish over the last 19 years, which he describes as being “conservatively progressive.”

– County councillors bid farewell to their CAO Brian Gregg. The new CAO for the County of Essex is Robert Maisonville.

“I was never one to try to hit the big home run or make the big splash, but it was more about continuing the move forward and do the right thing to enable us to serve the residents of the county of Essex,” said Gregg. “I am extremely proud of the initiatives we have undertaken as a county over the last 20 years. However the success that we have achieved over the last 20 years isn’t mine alone. It certainly is shared by the strength of the administrative team that we have here in the county. These folks that sit to the left and to the right of us are really the backbone of the county. I am continuously amazed at the creativity that they bring to their jobs, the responsiveness that they bring to their residents and to the members of council. They drive to be proactive and I suggest that maybe we aren’t always flashy, but we are open and we are doing things that anticipate what’s coming down the road next rather than just always having to react to things.”

Through tears, Gregg thanked his family. He said while he believes every politician probably does this when it comes time for him or her to move on, he is no different.

“Going forward I firmly believe the County is in a great place and is in excellent shape both financially and operationally,” said Gregg. “I wish you all and the administrative team here at the county the best as you continue to administer the affairs of the county. In summary, I’d like to borrow a couple little lines that Warden Bain has come out with in a number of these addresses that he’s made over the past few years. The first one is that Essex County is indeed the pre-emptive place to live, learn, work, play, invest and visit. And if anyone, any time ever hears anybody that says why Essex county? The answer ought to be, why not Essex County?”

 

Chief Building Official Steve Brown heads into retirement

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s chief building official has reached the end of his career.

Steve Brown’s last day on the job was June 30 with a retirement party being held for him at the McGregor K of C Hall that afternoon and evening.

“Every day is going to be Saturday for me from now on,” Brown joked.

Brown started in the construction business working at L.D Warren Associates, Developer, Architect and Engineers in 1973 and worked on several projects for that firm. Brown also spent 22 years working at W.C. Crosbie Architects, Glos Associates Architects and Engineers, and John Hreno Architect.

Chief Building Official Steve Brown (centre) was presented an award at the June 26 council meeting in recognition of his retirement. Making the presentation were human resources manager Michelle Rose and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Chief Building Official Steve Brown (centre) was presented an award at the June 26 council meeting in recognition of his retirement. Making the presentation were human resources manager Michelle Rose and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Among the projects Brown was involved with include the Central Mall in Windsor, Pine Aire Apartments in Windsor, the General Motors transmission Plant, several Royal Bank branches, the Greater Essex County District School Board head office, Chrysler In-plant facilities and Parkwood Gospel Temple along with several co-op housing projects in Windsor, Chatham, Tilbury, and Amherstburg.

Brown said the architect he worked for did a lot of work in Amherstburg with his first significant involvement with the town coming in 1984. He was hired as deputy chief building official in November 1988 and served under John Hreno until becoming chief building official in 1994.

In all, Brown was employed for nearly 44 years, the last 23 with the town of Amherstburg.

“It feels great,” he said of his retirement. “Somebody told me to retire at 65 and not to retire in the winter. I took their advice.”

Brown said he will miss the people that he worked with, the contractors and those he encountered on the job.

Projects of note in Amherstburg that Brown had a hand in include Projects of note in Amherstburg the Amherstburg Police Station, the Westview Apartments, the addition to the town hall including fire station No. 1, two co-op housing projects, Victoria St. Manor, repairs and elevator addition to the library, the redesign of the visitor center, the re-purposing of the cultural center on Victoria St., renovations to the Lions Pool and the relocation and restoration of the Gordon House.

Brown noted the design of Families First Funeral Home was done by a former boss, Larry Warren, whom Brown started working for in 1973.

“The biggest highlight of the job was watching the town progress,” said Brown.

When he arrived, the Gordon House was boarded up, the Salmoni Building had just closed, and buildings that are now local eateries were used for other purposes. Now, buildings and homes are being developed in the downtown core and more walkable neighbourhoods have arrived.

Brown added he helped when local big box stores arrived in Amherstburg as well.

“For all the development that happened after I came, I was glad to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s been very exciting.”

Steve Brown (left) chats with former mayor Bill Gibb and retired administrator Tom Kilgallin at Brown’s retirement party last Friday afternoon.

Steve Brown (left) chats with former mayor Bill Gibb and retired administrator Tom Kilgallin at Brown’s retirement party last Friday afternoon.

Brown won’t become a stranger, however, as he still plans to be active in other ways. He is a trumpeter with the Essex Community Concert Band and they will play Aug. 5 as part of the Canuck It Up! Festival. He also plans on joining more concert bands.

Brown has also been a fixture at Remembrance Day ceremonies where he plays the trumpet as part of the service.

“I intend to do that as long as I can,” said Brown.

Along with wife Nancy, he also plans on doing some travelling as well.

“I have a ‘to do’ list a mile long,” he said. “I’ll be working on that.”

Brown was also honoured at town hall during the June 26 council meeting, where human resources manager Michelle Rose stated Brown “has generously donated the value of his retirement gift to the Essex Community Concert Band to sponsor an outdoor concert at Belle Vue as a fundraiser for Belle Vue sometime next summer or fall.”

“You have definitely left your mark in many ways,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Council members also wished him the best of luck.

“You were always upstanding and willing to help any way you could,” added Councillor Rick Fryer.