Town’s two new directors officially on the job

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town has new directors for the corporate and legislative services departments with both getting adapted to their new positions.

The new director of corporate services is Val Sequeira while Brenda Percy has been promoted from within to the director of legislative services position.

Sequeira has spent over two decades in municipal government with much of his experience in the Toronto-area. In his new duties, Sequeira will oversee the town’s IT, human resources, financial and asset management departments.

“I’ve been in municipal government for a number of years now. I started out in 1990 in the city of Scarborough,” he said.

While in Scarborough, Sequeira served as a budget officer and at the time of amalgamation into the city of Toronto was a senior corporate financial planner.

Sequeira credited the people he worked for there for being “visionaries.” That included the city manager whom he said had a vision for the city and how to improve the quality of life for residents. That shaped his views towards what he believes municipal government should be.

“Local government is about adding value to people’s lives and making the community a better place to be,” said Sequeira. “Local government to me is about being a forum for people to deal with their day-to-day issues.”

In Toronto, he was the manager of budget services. Following his experience there, he moved on to the York Region, where he was initially the manager of budgets and forecasts before becoming the manager of business information systems.

“I have experience with financial planning, budgets, development charges, financial policy, performance measures, capital asset accounting, facilitation of strategic plans and information technology,” he said.

After 12 years there, it was time for a change and he decided after consulting with his family to come to Amherstburg as the director of corporate services. He decided to come to a smaller community like Amherstburg so he could help “add value” to people’s lives.

“It’s an opportunity to do something different and do something I want to do,” said Sequeira. “It’s an organization I can come to and make a difference right away.”

Town Logo Small-webGoals include doing what he can to make the town good to work for and to make other staff feel empowered and that what they do means something. He also wants his department running well so that it helps other departments within the municipality run better. Having worked for different municipalities, he said he hopes to bring a different perspective to the table and to help find the right solutions for the town.

The first month on the job has been “amazing,” he said, adding he is also excited about the direction of the town.

“When I look at my management team, they are all enthusiastic and want to move the town forward. It’s been a very positive experience,” said Sequeira.

Sequeira said the residents he has been meeting have been very welcoming.

“People love it here and are happy to be here,” he said.

Sequeira added he wants to work with council in helping to achieve its goals as well as helping to give Amherstburg a higher profile.

“I think Amherstburg is a hidden jewel. It’s a beautiful little town that not many people know about,” he said. “I think this is a good place and there is a lot of opportunity to do good stuff here.”

While Percy was tabbed as the new director of legislative services, she will keep her role as town clerk in the process.

Calling it the biggest role of her career, Percy will be responsible for the overall administration and direction of the town’s legislative services department which includes fire, planning, building, clerk department, risk management, insurance, licensing and by-law enforcement.

“The director of legislative services is also a member of the new senior management team,” she said. “The senior management team works collaboratively in execution of the town’s strategic plans which have been set by council.”

Percy said she has 16 years experience in municipal government in a number of different positions.

“I have held a number of diverse positions, each that fostered my professional growth and development. I was interested in a position with more responsibility and a new challenge.   Under the recent reorganization, I was excited to become a part of the team that continues to move the town forward,” said Percy.

The new internal structure looks to be in place with the town to help provide local residents quality services, she believes.

“We are very early in this process but there are talented individuals within the pillars that have been formed by the reorganization,” said Percy. “As the teams continue to collaborate I see a great deal of opportunity for improvement both in the delivery of municipal services and the development of policy that will help drive Amherstburg in the direction of council’s strategic vision.”

Percy stated her new role draws upon many different experiences she has had both in the municipal world as well as the private sector. Those include legal to legislative, she noted.

“There are always ways to use the facets of what you have learned from past careers, but in reality, you never stop learning and adapting to new challenges. I’m well prepared for these challenges,” she said. “I was excited by the challenges in front of me and the opportunity to contribute. Obviously there is a lot of work to do, but I’m more than ready for the work.”

Working with her colleagues is something she believes to be important.

“As a senior manager, I plan to work collaboratively with the other directors, under the direction of the CAO, in providing strong leadership to staff and the town,” she said. “I intend to be a catalyst for positive change in the workplace through strong positive leadership.”

Percy’s municipal career began with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. While there, she was manager of licensing services, council co-ordinator, provincial offenses court implementation co-ordinator and the legal assistant to the municipal solicitor. She became the town of Amherstburg’s clerk in 2009.

Prior to entering municipal administration, Percy worked as a legal assistant in private law firms in her hometown of Toronto.

The municipal reorganization process will see four directors reporting to the CAO. In addition to Sequeira and Percy, Lou Zarlenga is director of infrastructure and engineering while Dean Collver is director of recreation and culture.

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