Reflections on an ‘adventure’
After three decades of service with two local municipalities, South Glengarry clerk Marilyn LeBrun is retiring at the end of the year.
“It’s been quite an adventure. That’s for sure,” Mrs. LeBrun told The News last week.
“I’m going to miss dealing with the public. I’ll miss my co-workers in the office. I’ve loved all of the councils that I’ve worked for, since I’ve been clerk. They’ve all been very good to me and very respectful.”
A South Lancaster native who still lives there with her husband of 31 years, Peter, Mrs. LeBrun first became a municipal employee in 1988 when she began a 10-year stint as clerk for the former Village of Lancaster.
Following municipal amalgamation across the province in January 1998 – and consequently, the creation of the Township of South Glengarry through the merging of the townships of Charlottenburgh and Lancaster with the Village of Lancaster – Mrs. LeBrun took on a new role, as resource person for the newly-created township fire department.
“We also amalgamated five fire departments into one, and it was a tough job,” she recalled.
“It was pretty challenging at times. It took a lot of work to get all the five former chiefs to start to think about that and how they would work together. But the fire chiefs in those early years taught me a lot about the fire service and all the good that they do for our community.”
After spending close to a decade (from 1998 to 2006) in that role, Mrs. LeBrun developed a deep appreciation for volunteers of the local brigade.
“I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the fire department since then,” she said.
“I feel that sometimes people overlook them, and all of the services that they provide.”
Mrs. LeBrun became clerk in 2006 when administrator-clerk Marcel Lapierre retired and the municipality subsequently divided the position into two offices by hiring a CAO and appointing Mrs. LeBrun as clerk.
Since assuming that title, she’s amassed a collection of memories.
“One thing that really stands out is the Ice Storm in 1998,” said Mrs. LeBrun.
“We amalgamated on January 1 and the Ice Storm came right after that (January 4). It was quite the way to be introduced to your new fire department, and all the other new employees that you were meeting.
“But we all came together as if we’d worked together for years.”
The launch of the Glengarry County Archives, through the collaborative efforts of both North and South Glengarry townships, and County Archivist Allan MacDonald, is another highlight.
“It took a lot of years and a lot of work to get it going, but we were always behind getting that done, so it was rewarding to see that,” said Mrs. LeBrun.
Although she admits that she won’t be doing “anything too great,” at least during the early stages of her retirement, Mrs. LeBrun will definitely be keeping busy.
“Peter and I are going to do Meals on Wheels. I think that’s a start, this winter,” she said.
“I’ve got a couple of closets to clean out, to get rid of some junk...and maybe we’ll just travel a bit.”
She also hasn’t ruled out stepping away from the political scene totally.
“I may come back for the elections (next year),” said Mrs. LeBrun, who’s served as municipal returning officer and helped oversee the voting process in the township during the last several provincial elections. “We’ll see.”
Mrs. LeBrun leaves her post as clerk without any regrets.
She’s also confident in her successor.
“Kelli (Campeau, the township’s current economic development and communications officer) is going to take my place...by the first meeting of the new year,” she said.
“Kelli taking over is going to be a good thing. And Bryan (Brown, township CAO) is always going to be there as a good backup, and manager, so I feel very comfortable in leaving.”