Annette Clarke reflects on busy times, changes in Gore Bay over 37 years

Annette Clarke

GORE BAY – Annette Clarke, who officially retired as CAO/clerk-treasurer for the Town of Gore Bay as of January 31, has seen a lot of changes over the years and has enjoyed her work with the town.

“In almost 37 years there’s never been a dull day,” stated Ms. Clarke. “Each day brings its own set of challenges. Over the years there were more successes than failures; and I am proud of what I, together with the team of people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years, managed to achieve.”

Ms. Clarke said, “I attribute my success to the people that I’ve worked with over the years, but mainly Pam Bond, Joyce Foster and Mayors Larry Lane, Ruby Croft, Ron Lane and Dan Osborne. I have worked with too many councillors to name them all, but I had a great working relationship with all of them. The key is to always respect each other’s opinions and respect the decisions made by council and carry out their policies whether you agree with them or not. Council works in the best interest of their community and staff works closely with council to ensure those interests are protected to the best of their ability.”

Ms. Clarke started as secretary with the Town of Gore Bay on June 15, 1983, and was then promoted to deputy clerk. She acted as welfare administrator for a couple of years until this was moved out of the municipal offices. She was promoted to town clerk on January 1, 2000, then to CAO/clerk, and then promoted to CAO/clerk-treasurer in 2015.

She also acts as Community Emergency Management Coordinator (for the town) and has been the Provincial Offences Act Manager since the transfer in 2000. “I will continue in this role after retirement, as well as part-time POA clerk/court reporter one day per week and holiday relief,” she said.

One memorable incident she shared occurred after the town of Gore Bay became the first municipality on the Island to get computers. “I entered all the data from assessment rolls for Gore Bay, Dawson, Robinson and Mills and the water/sewer rolls for Gore Bay. Over half way through the entry the system crashed and I had to start all over again. A day I never forgot.”

“Since then there have been so many changes that took place, from snail mail to email, from cheques and cash to debit, credit, auto deposit, etc,” continued Ms. Clarke. “In the 1980s and 1990s getting a grant (for the town) was much easier than today. A simple two-page application with drawings by myself was all that was required. And very little reporting was required after receiving the monies. Today, it is far more difficult and more often than not the services of an engineer are required.”

“Municipalities have to report on almost everything now,” continued Ms. Clarke. “This adds a lot of extra work in comparison to pre-2000.”

Ms. Clarke acknowledged she has worked with a lot of people on a lot of projects over the years, for instance the industrial building, incubator building, medical centre, pavilion, waterfront development, municipal office, arena additions, numerous road projects, boardwalk, water treatment facility, playgrounds, tennis courts, splash pad, and currently the fitness centre and so many more.

She has also been an event planner on many occasions, taking on this role for Canada Day celebrations, Gore Bay Summerfest, Gore Bay Harbour Days, and numerous smaller events like Volunteer Appreciation Day, Senior of the Year, Citizen of the Year awards, and the list goes on.

Although January 31 was her official retirement date, Ms. Clarke said, “I will be sticking around a bit longer as a trainer/consultant over the next few months. I will help complete the audit, 2020 (town) budget and work closely with Stasia (Carr, town clerk) during the transition period. My job is being split up, meaning new people will be hired in the office and I hope the community will welcome and support them during this transition period. It will definitely be an adjustment for everyone but I’m sure there will be great things ahead with fresh faces and minds to bring improvements to the town and how we do business.”

Ms. Clarke said, “to the citizens of Gore Bay, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and criticism over the years. It isn’t easy working for the public and we can’t always provide the answers people want to hear but we do the best with the resources we have.”

“What I will miss most of all are my co-workers, especially the girls in the office–Stasia, Marlene, Annette, Dayna and up until recently Jen have all been fantastic to work with,” said Ms. Clarke. “We made a great team and I wish them all the best of luck in the days and years ahead. I look forward to hanging out with my fellow retiree Pam in the days ahead.”

She also noted, “I would like to thank (her husband) Wendell, (daughters) Ashley and Caitlin for putting up with their stressed out wife and mother over the years and for all the time I missed while I was putting in late night and weekends.”

Ms. Clarke added, “retirement, for me, is bittersweet. I’m not sure I’m ready but I’m excited about the prospects that lie ahead. I look forward to the freedom to spend time with my family and friends without the pressures of work being on my mind.”