Town council appoints Bill Wark to Essex Power board of directors

 

By Ron Giofu

A former councillor has been appointed to the Essex Power board of directors after various candidates’ pros and cons were debated by the current town council.

Bill Wark was named to the Essex Power board at Monday night’s council meeting, concluding a process that went back just over a month. However, Wark’s appointment was not unanimous as some believed consultant and former acting CAO Joe Levack would be a better fit.

Councillor Carolyn Davies noted Wark’s experience as a past member of council as well as his involvement in the community.

“Bill served us well as a councillor,” said Davies. “He’s an active volunteer on a number of committees.”

Davies noted he also has served as president of CAW Local 1959, has an understanding of business and collective bargaining and has demonstrated volunteer leadership.

Town Logo Small-webCouncillor John Sutton agreed with much of Davies’ argument but believed Levack was better suited for the board post, noting the latter has also been a vice president with Enwin Utilities in Windsor. Sutton said with the province eyeing an amalgamation of utility companies so that each serve roughly 400,000 customers each, Levack’s experience would prove invaluable.

“I would want someone who has an intimate knowledge of the hydro business,” said Sutton.

Councillor Bob Pillon said he likes Wark and called Wark “a good guy” but agreed with Sutton that Levack’s experience suits the position better.

“I feel we do need a person with experience in electricity. We want someone there that has a knowledge of the hydro business,” said Pillon.

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland said he saw both sides of the discussion, noting that Levack has the technical knowledge but it was Wark’s community involvement which stood out. Councillor Diane Pouget said she also understood the reasons why Levack had support, but wondered if his prior involvement as a consultant and acting CAO would be perceived poorly by the community.

“It might appear he is too close to the situation,” said Pouget.

Pouget added that Wark is “a quick learner” and “a people person” who is well connected with the town.

Wark was appointed to council in 2010, after his sixth place finish in the 2006 election made him the most viable option to replace Councillor Paul Renaud after Renaud passed away.

Council passed a motion to reconsider previous candidates as Sutton had earlier noted both Wark and Levack had been voted down. He initially put forth the name of David Cozens as other candidates had been previously rejected.

“I think all of them could do a capable job,” he said.

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