Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hans, James and Apps

Farewell Hans

After a recent city council meeting that saw him being taken away to the hospital by ambulance after unexpectedly collapsing, the City of Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer announced last week that he’s going to leave his position a little earlier than expected. “Mr. Loewig shared his plans at a closed meeting of City Council last night and offered to stay on as the City's Chief Administrator until the end of 2011, committing to help Council with its recruitment of a new CAO and ensure a smooth transition,” said a City press release last Tuesday. “He is stepping down from the City's top job for personal reasons.”

Loewig first took the position in 2007 when he was acting as interim CAO. He was later confirmed as the City’s permanent CAO, being hired on a four-year contract in 2008. Loweig’s nearly four decades of experience in the municipal sector includes serving as CAO of the City of Brantford from 1999 till 2004. The press release credited Loewig for helping to solidify Guelph’s economic strength during his tenure by helping to secure Federal and Provincial stimulus money and by pushing ahead with the development of the Hanlon Creek Business Park lands.

But February’s health issue was the second time in two years that Loewig took time off for personal reasons, so I guess the time was right to “focus on his own well-being and his family,” as Mark Amorosi, executive director of human resources and legal services said to the Guelph Mercury last week.

"This decision was a difficult one for me because I continue to be passionate about the important work we do on behalf of this community," said Loewig in the press release. "The years I've spent as Guelph's CAO have been rich with positive challenges and very rewarding. I have been very fortunate to have worked with so many committed and capable people in the organization."

The Mayor also offered words of praise for the outgoing CAO. "The legacy Mr. Loewig leaves is one of exemplary leadership, integrity, and a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic that has served our community extremely well over the past four years,” said Karen Farbridge. “I'd like to thank Mr. Loewig for everything he's done for our community, and wish him the absolute best."

The City will begin the hiring process for the new CAO in the next couple of months.

James Gordon Wants to Be NDP

After years of being the singing voice for progressive issues in the City of Guelph, singer/songwriter James Gordon now wants to be its actual voice at Queens Park. According to the Guelph Mercury last week, Gordon is one of two high-profile candidates vying for the NDP nomination for this fall's Provincial Election, the other is Susan Wheeler, writer, educator and advocate for the disabled. According to NDP Federal candidate Bobbi Stewart, the local Provincial New Democrats are expecting to have their nomination meeting sometime for the end of April. Local PC's are also looking for a candidate and the Green Party says that they'll begin their search sometime this week. Current MPP and Liberal Party candidate Liz Sandals will be running again for a third term.

Playing Telephone

That annoying phone call you’re getting a dinner time? It just might be the City of Guelph. Starting this past week, phones are ringing in hundreds of Guelph households as the City surveys residents on their priorities and aspirations for their community over the next four years. So for those of you either too jaded or too lazy to write letters, make phone calls, go to public meetings, or even vote, this is your time to shine. (But you'll probably hang up before you even learn what the call is about.)

Environics Research Group will conduct the survey which will be a 10-minute survey conducted in English and three other languages among a representative sample of 600 residents aged 18 and older. The sample will yield an overall margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Questions on age, gender, education, income, ethnicity, and ward will help ensure the demographics of the sample mirror Guelph's population as a whole, according to a city press release.

In other telephone-related news, Grand River County now has its own iPhone app that will enable people to take Grand River with them no matter where they go. The free app, available through Apple iTunes App Store, is Grand River Country’s new trip planning companion for the iPhone described as an easy-to-use, and featuring the best of attractions, dining, accommodation, festivals and recreation found throughout the Grand River watershed. “I am excited to pass this one-of-a-kind benefit on to our tourism partners,” says Sue Trerise, Senior Business Development Specialist-Tourism for Guelph Tourism Services. “We are working hard to keep up with the changing technologies available to the tourism sector.”

So yes kids, Guelph, there’s an app for that.

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