TEHKUMMAH – Administration duties in the Township of Tehkummah have officially transferred to longtime resident Silvio Berti, who started in the new permanent role of the township’s clerk-administrator on September 16.
“I felt this was a positive move so I could work in my own community,” Mr. Berti told The Expositor mid-way through his first week in the new role. “I’ve always been of the point of view that when people work together, things get accomplished easier.”
Mr. Berti is a veteran of Island municipal governance. He just concluded an eight-year stint as the municipal co-ordinator for the Municipality of Central Manitoulin where he oversaw capital projects, the landfill, drainage, energy and accessibility.
Mr. Berti is originally from the Toronto area but moved to the Island about 20 years ago. In that time he has worked for Debajehmujig Storytellers in the field of project management, something he has also done for numerous years down south in the construction field.
He attended the University of Waterloo for urban and regional planning as well as the Ontario College of Arts for environmental design. He has also dabbled in film and television production.
“My roots are in community building, expansion and development, with a lot of work in project management,” he said.
When Mr. Berti originally came to Manitoulin Island his first home was in South Baymouth. He has since relocated to the town centre of Tehkummah, meaning he has lived within the township for the extent of his Manitoulin life.
The job itself has considerable overlaps from the responsibilities in his former Central Manitoulin position. However, he did admit that there are some transitional hurdles to get through before feeling fully settled in his role.
“I have to get over the newness of the location in terms of where certain files are located around the office and getting up to speed with the status of projects,” he said.
Mr. Berti said his priority after everything settles into the regular routine would be to work with council to identify projects that they may wish to get done in the future, describing his philosophy as “proactive.”
The township has experienced a few years of instability due to staffing issues and related conflicts. Mr. Berti expressed his gratitude to the efforts made in the past year to help move Tehkummah forward and away from some of the challenges of the past.
“A lot of it has already been smoothed over from the staff here, in particular the acting clerk (Roy Hardy),” Mr. Berti said.
However, his established residency within the township put many Tehkummah residents at ease when his name was listed as the new clerk-administrator.
“I’ve had a positive reaction. Being a community member makes it that much easier of a transition,” said Mr. Berti, making note of a lot of social media support when he was announced as the successful candidate.
“Being part of the community that I’m working for is something I’m going to be looking forward to,” he said.
Mr. Berti described himself as accepting and willing to work with all people.
“Things work better when people work together and don’t try to isolate themselves from their neighbours,” he said. “I’m open-minded, agreeable; I’m a happy guy,” he added with a laugh.
As to his future, Mr. Berti said leaving the position some day had not even crossed his mind.
“I’d like to provide consistent leadership and direction for the long term,” he said. “I’m not planning on moving on. This is where I want to be.”