John Manconi, the face of public transit in Ottawa, is retiring in September

“It just feels right,” Manconi said Thursday in a short interview after news of his retirement went public.

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John Manconi, the general manager who has overseen OC Transpo through some of the most service-altering changes in the city’s history, is retiring in September.

“It just feels right,” Manconi said Thursday in a short interview after news of his retirement went public.

“The city is in a good space right now. The COVID stuff is coming to an end hopefully this fall. Stage 1 (LRT) is in good shape, Stage 2 is tracking really well. Collective agreements are done with ATU, so we have labour peace for five years. The staff is in a good space. It’s the right thing.”

Manconi took the reins of Transpo in February 2012 in a major management reorganization for transit services that also gave executive oversight to the deputy city manager Steve Kanellakos, who’s now the city manager.

Manconi was general manager of public works before being asked to take over the transit portfolio.

Kanellakos, as city manager, later gave Manconi oversight of the entire transportation department.

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“I am going to miss John’s strategic mind and counsel, proactive approach and his extensive experience navigating through extremely complex issues,” Kanellakos said in a memo to council on Thursday.

“John has always been fully committed to the City of Ottawa. This is further demonstrated by choosing to provide five months’ notice prior to his departure. These five months will provide us the opportunity to ensure that we can conduct a thorough search for his replacement and the time to transition the many files John is actively engaged in.”

Manconi will have worked at the city for 32 years when he retires in September.

Manconi said it was an easy decision to retire.

Manconi, who’s 55 this year, said it’s too early to think about what he’ll do next after retirement.

“I’m here to take care of the city right now,” Manconi said, noting he wants to ensure a smooth transition to his successor.

After taking some time off when he leaves the city government, he plans to keep his eye out for his next challenge.

“I’m going to keep going,” Manconi said. “I’m not going to just sit back in a rocking chair, that’s for sure.”


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