For­mer coun­cil­lor won’t be retiring

Hi­lary Payne, 86, plans new ca­reer

Windsor Star - - CITY+REGION - BRIAN CROSS [email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/win­star­cross

Hi­lary Payne just can’t leave city hall.

Fresh on the heels of los­ing his Ward 9 seat in the Oct. 22 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion and de­part­ing coun­cil at the end of Novem­ber, the 86-year-old is an­nounc­ing a “new ca­reer” as head of Payne Mu­nic­i­pal Con­sul­tants. The new firm will help peo­ple or com­pa­nies wend their way through the com­plex­i­ties of get­ting things ap­proved at city hall.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t know all the ins and outs that I do af­ter 33 years there,” said Payne, who spent the last eight years on coun­cil, and be­fore that, 25 years in ad­min­is­tra­tion, serv­ing as city en­gi­neer and city man­ager.

“I don’t think there’s any­one who knows more about the city than I do.” Re­tire­ment isn’t an op­tion, he said.

“I can’t, it’s just not in me to re­tire.”

Payne orig­i­nally left the city bu­reau­cracy in 1994 at the age of 63, af­ter not get­ting along with then-mayor Mike Hurst. But he quickly be­came ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the United Way, earned his real-es­tate li­cence, and even­tu­ally took on the job of chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer for the Town of Amher­st­burg, in need of a steady hand dur­ing a tu­mul­tuous pe­riod. He was first elected as a city coun­cil­lor in Ward 9 in 2010.

He lost his re-elec­tion bid in Oc­to­ber, gar­ner­ing 985 votes com­pared to the 3,178 col­lected by Kieran McKen­zie, who has since re­signed as MP Brian Masse’s (NDP — Wind­sor West) leg­isla­tive as­sis­tant. “I de­cided af­ter get­ting beat out by the union, I wasn’t go­ing to sit and feel sorry for my­self,” said Payne, who was born in Dublin, Ire­land, and ar­rived in Canada as a civil en­gi­neer in 1958, at age 26. He holds four univer­sity de­grees, in­clud­ing two in en­gi­neer­ing and one in pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion. In 2015, af­ter sev­eral high­pro­file dus­tups in­clud­ing chal­leng­ing for­mer MPP San­dra Pu­patello over re­sults at the Wind­sorEs­sex Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, the Star de­scribed him as the city ’s “scrap­pi­est” coun­cil­lor. On Sun­day, Payne said his new con­sult­ing busi­ness — he can be reached at 519-969-2792 — will in­volve tak­ing on clients who need help get­ting ap­provals or changes to poli­cies at city hall. These clients could be de­vel­op­ers, builders or in­di­vid­u­als with a city-re­lated prob­lem, he said, adding he al­ready has a cou­ple of clients con­firmed. “With the knowl­edge I have, it kind of fa­cil­i­tates the whole process,” he said. “It’s a lowkey op­er­a­tion. I’m not hir­ing a whole bunch of peo­ple, it’s ba­si­cally my­self.” Of­ten, com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als hire lawyers or plan­ners to rep­re­sent them at city hall. Of­ten, they stand as del­e­gates at city coun­cil meet­ings, ar­gu­ing on be­half of their clients. Payne said he’d “ab­so­lutely” be will­ing to ap­pear as a del­e­gate to make the case for his clients to cur­rent coun­cil­lors. “It’d be in­ter­est­ing to be on the other side of the fence for a change.”

Hi­lary Payne

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