Public Works needs a few changes: Brown

While he’s only been on the job five days, Doug Brown, the new manager of Operations and Facilities for the Town of Fort Frances, has set his priorities for his work ahead here—and already is looking to make a few changes.
“I think the department here does a pretty good job,” he noted Tuesday afternoon. “The staff are good people, there’s some good equipment to work with, and there’s a willingness to do a good job.
“But I think we can improve our public image,” added Brown, noting he already has directed that crews doing work at the cemetery, for instance, now must wear their shirts while working.
“They’re not out there to work on their suntans. It’s a sign of respect,” Brown remarked.
He also noted he wants residents to be confident Public Works is doing a good job—and erase the sometimes negative image people have of them by proving they’re well-trained and organized.
Brown also said he’s looking to get the town’s priorities straight when it comes to the Operations and Facilities division, citing a decision by council this year to hold off on expensive sewer work in favour of road repairs.  “I’ve always felt you should start with the infrastructure and work your way out to what’s on the surface,” he remarked. “It’s true that the nature of sidewalks and roads is they fall apart around you over time.
“I want to restore them so it doesn’t cost the taxpayers a lot of money.
“But I understand change is hard, and I want to take my time,” he added.
Brown was hired to replace former Operations and Facilities manager Pat Hickerson in mid-June.
Most recently having worked as manager of the Works and Operations Department for the Town of Marathon, Brown was raised in Atikokan, where his father, Dennis, is mayor.
In his role in Marathon, Brown was responsible for engineering design and project administration as well as the Operations Division, which included water treatment, sewer and water systems, waste, roadways, recreation, and cemetery operations.
He also functioned as co-administrator for an extended period of time.
Brown has relocated to Fort Frances with his wife, Joanne, who is a teacher, and his two children, Dustin and Emily, who are involved in hockey and swimming.
While his family has only been here a short while, Brown noted “the community has been nice.”
In related news, the Town of Fort Frances has added a new member to its management team, hiring Margaret “Peggy” Dupuis as the new treasurer.
Dupuis officially will start in her new role Aug. 11, filling the vacancy left by Diane Pearson, who left the job July 11.
Dupuis holds her Certified Municipal Officer designation and brings with her 17 years of municipal and management experience.
She graduated high school in Red Rock, about 100 km east of Thunder Bay, and went on to a position as acting clerk-treasurer for the Township of Dorion.
In 1990, she moved to the position of clerk-treasurer for the Township of Beardmore, and in 1998, became treasurer for the Town of Geraldton.
Through a subsequent amalgamation, Dupuis then became Treasurer/Director of Finance and Administration for the new Municipality of Greenstone.
She will be relocating here with her husband, Dave, who specializes in fine furniture building and also is a certified literacy instructor.
In her free time, Dupuis enjoys tai chi, reading, walking, and volunteering in the community and her church.
Pearson resigned to work for the Town of Black River-Matheson, about a half-hour east of Timmins, as CAO/treasurer. She first took the job here in November, 2000 after moving from North Bay.
(Fort Frances Times)