HomeNewsCouncil worker retires after 25 years service

Council worker retires after 25 years service

Murrindindi Shire Council’s long-time Operations staff member Gary Ward finished today after almost 25 years of hard work keeping Shire roads in good condition.

Gary (and family) lived in Eildon for the last 24 years and 9 months. In December Gary and his wife, Toni, are moving to Queensland to be closer to family.

Their daughter, Tammi Lavelle, who also worked with Council for almost 19 years, moved to Queensland with her family earlier this year.

Tammi’s two brothers, Shane and Scott, and their families, now live in Queensland.

Gary admits he has taken to “carrying a Chux” in his pocket because “…I get a bit emotional at times”.

“Obviously I have mixed feelings about leaving,” Gary said.

“After nearly 25 years, it’s a whole part of your life – you spend a third of your day if not longer with your workmates and you strike up good friendships and enjoy the camaraderie.

“Because of my various roles I’ve tended to look after my colleagues a lot – I’ll admit I’m a bit of a dad, but we still all have a good laugh.”

Gary started “multi-tasking” at Council in his 20s after sending in a resume following one of his many fishing weekends at his family’s caravan at Eildon.

 

Murrindindi Shire residents would have seen Gary on the roller or in the tip truck over many years.

More recently he has spent many hours on his favourite “toy”, the Paveline road maintenance truck, which he calls “the beast” – patching roads, putting in signs and posts.

One element of the job he won’t miss is clearing away the animals which die on our roads after being hit by vehicles.

“I’ve never liked that job – I would clean up at least 20-30 dead wombats on my way into work from Eildon each year and sometimes more again on the way home in the evenings.”

“The greatest highs I’ve enjoyed however have been working with the team – it’s a good outfit and the workplace has been pretty good. And I’ve also always loved this area,” Gary said.

While working with Council, Gary has volunteered his time within the organisation by wearing many hats including that of Depot Social Club Director, ASU Shop Steward (23 years), Occupational Health and Safety Representative for the Operations Workgroup (6 years) and Support and Contact Officer (6 years).

Unofficially, Gary also became the Depot’s “Morale Officer”, initiating a Friday afternoon get-together, after work has finished for the day.

“It’s a good way for the team to wind down after work on a Friday afternoon. It gives us a chance to sit down and talk about our week’s work and it’s also very handy from an OHS perspective to pick up on anything happening around the place that might need to be looked at more closely,” Gary said.

Murrindindi Shire Council CEO Margaret Abbey said during his time with Council, Gary has proven to be a modest, self-effacing and hard worker who avoids the limelight.

“Council’s managers have always commented on Gary’s wonderful ability to represent his colleagues on safety issues, industrial issues and to raise issues about their general well-being, in a respectful, genuine and constructive way,” Abbey said.

“He has always been concerned with his work mates’ needs, but we’ve also greatly valued his attention to his role and the work that needed to get done to keep the roads safe at the same time.”

Council’s General Management Corporate and Community Services, Michael Chesworth, who has also worked with Council for over two decades, said Gary has been involved in eight enterprise agreement negotiations since starting.

“Gary will be greatly missed both as a colleague and as a tireless worker within the organisation,” he said.

“We wish Gary all the very best with the move to Queensland. We will miss his humanity and compassion, his dedication to colleagues and workplace, as well as his ideas and energy,” Chesworth said.

 

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