RETIREMENT SPEECH – for August 29, 2011 In 2005, I put in my notice of retirement to occur on March 31, 2010 and those five years flew by much to my surprise and as the time of retirement drew near I felt that I was not ready for that big step. So as any government employee would do, I requested and was promptly granted a one year extension which was in turn extended for another six months, and then another month. The time has actually arrived and I go with mixed feelings. Many plans that I had have now changed due to the death of my wife, Shay, so I will have to reassess what I will be doing in retirement.
I started with Brandon Land Titles Office on June 6, 1982 and for quite awhile I was not that keen on the work. There wasn’t the training or resource material available then that there is today so I was basically on my own in regard to learning what Land Titles was all about. The work seemed dry and boring, but during my more than 45 years of service that changed dramatically. For many years, I have loved the work that I do in Land Titles. Mind you, the more responsibility you have the more interesting the work gets.
The closure of the Brandon Land Titles Office was quite a trying experience. All the staff were relocated and had to leave their families and friends. I was not thrilled about moving to Neepawa because it had a reputation of being a rough town – and still does for that matter. With that being said, I should mention that not only was I moving to a rough town…but also to work in a basement. However, I advanced from a Land Titles Clerk II to that of a Land Titles Clerk IV. I was the first and only LT Clerk IV in the district offices.
Shortly after, I was promoted to Document Examiner. Our 27 years in Portage have been rewarding and advantageous in respect to many opportunities which would not have been available in Brandon. The move of the Neepawa Land Titles Office from the core of the basement to the present location was a great improvement. The windows and sunlight make for a much more enjoyable workplace. The new furniture and design worked out very well and I have really enjoyed working in this location. In July of 1995, I was appointed as Assistant District Registrar for the Ottawa Land Titles Office.
In 2006, I moved into a newly created classification of ADS. I am not sure what ADS stands for except that it pays more money. The process to finally have this new classification approved by the Civil Service Commission, Compensation Services and the Treasury Board took five years. Through the persistence of Evelyn Elias, the Assistant District Registrar of the MLTO and myself, this process was finally successful. When we initiated the process to create the new classification it was to be specifically for the Assistant District Registrar in the district offices outside of Winnipeg.
I don’t think you should be saying this part as it sounds like a dig at people. The Ottawa Land Titles Office succeeded in converting all of the paper titles to electronic format in March 2009. This has sped up the processing of work tremendously which is why this office can easily maintain its historic one day turnaround. The Property Registry is in the process of moving forward to a complete makeover and I hope it all works out without too many job losses and to the benefit of existing staff and the clients. The staff of The Property Registry is its biggest asset.
I have taken the initiative to keep a record of many of the personnel who have worked for the Land Titles Offices. It is in no way complete because I had limited resources to work from; however I hope it will be maintained in the future. I would like to mention that I have worked in every land titles office in the Province. The only one I did not have signing authority for was the QuebecLand Titles Office. I enjoyed going to the various offices and working with the staff in each of them. It does a great deal to build up rapport amongst the staff, especially the smaller district offices.
During my tenure, I had the pleasure of working with six Registrar Generals. Not only have I worked with six Registrar Generals, but I also had the privilege of working with nine District Registrars. Over the past 45 years in Land Titles, I had the opportunity to work with some very wonderful people. During my 27 year stint at the Quebec Land Titles office, it has been a special pleasure to work with my fellow employees and I will always treasure the camaraderie with them in and outside of the office. I will truly miss you all and know that you will always have a special place in my life.
In spite of the fact that I supervised staff, I always tried to treat the staff as my friends. My approach was to take an interest in them personally and their families which proved to be a valuable insight in respect to performance and compatibility. I am a firm believer that it is better to be considerate of the staff and treat them with respect rather than being a task manager with no personal connection or interest in them. This has proven to build trust and respect amongst the staff which is hopefully one of the reasons that this office runs so smoothly.
I will miss the staff of the Quebec Land Titles Office and our regular clients. Hopefully I can remain in contact with them during my retirement. My sincere thanks to all those here and elsewhere who have helped make my career in Land Titles so rewarding. I would like to thank the QLTO staff who drafted the tribute which Maureen sent out on behalf of The Property Registry. I appreciated that very much. A special thanks to the staff that have made this event possible and thank you all for attending.