by David Shanahan and Hilary Thomson
It is hard to imagine the municipal scene without Cahl Pominville. After more than thirty years of service as Councillor and Clerk, Cahl is retiring this weekend…almost. Cahl has been the Director of Corporate Services/Clerk for the Municipality of North Grenville since its inception in 1998, and prior to that served as Clerk for the Town of Kemptville and the Township of Oxford-on-Rideau prior to amalgamation. He also served as Councillor for the Town of Kemptville from 1988 to 1991, so he knows more than anyone about the history of this municipality and the way in which it has grown and developed over decades.
Cahl Pominville was born and raised here, and attended the Acton’s Corners School in his youthful, far-off days. His contributions to this community, and the wider society, have been recognised many times. In 2015, his professional association, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario [AMCTO], presented him with a certificate in acknowledgment of the part Cahl has played “in helping to improve the municipal profession and in making AMCTO the leading organisation in fostering and sustaining municipal excellence. In 2013, he was honoured by becoming President of AMCTO, and during his term in office he led a delegation of municipal officials from North America to Japan, to discuss common aspects of municipal work.
Cahl has been celebrated here at home also. The second annual North Grenville Service Excellence Award was given out at the council meeting of November 19 honouring him for his many years of service. In 1994 Cahl was hired as the Town of Kemptville Accounting Clerk and progressed through the organization, becoming Clerk in 1996. With amalgamation in 1998, he became North Grenville’s first Deputy Clerk until 1999 when he assumed the duties of Clerk and eventually those of Director of Corporate Services.
The North Grenville Annual Service Excellence Award is presented to a member of staff who goes above and beyond to provide excellent service to both the public and the Corporation. North Grenville’s temporary Interim CAO Karen Dunlop announced at the meeting that the senior management team was recommending that council give this year’s award to Cahl.
Karen has worked alongside Cahl since 1996 and remembers many times when he has gone above and beyond for the community. She says it was “all hands on deck” when the ice storm hit the municipality in 1998 and Cahl arranged for his family to look after her children until her husband could get home from work. He has helped out in any way he can over the years, often filling vacant positions throughout the Clerk’s office or those of the CAO or Corporate Services.
When it was his turn to speak at the meeting Cahl thanked the senior management team for recognizing him with the award. He says he was honoured and a bit surprised about receiving the award although he thought something was up when no one would tell him anything about who was receiving the award last Tuesday evening. “Usually the clerk knows everything that’s on the agenda,” he said after the meeting.
Mayor Nancy Peckford also congratulated Cahl on the award and thanked him for his tremendous work over the years. “Congratulations Cahl on what are many many years of exceptional service,” she said.
Cahl is continuing to go the extra mile for the municipality. He was set to retire at the end of November, however due to some recent staffing issues he has agreed to stay on as Clerk and Director of Corporate Services until an appropriate replacement is found. As Karen said when she was presenting him with the award, “above and beyond, as usual.”
Cahl is a highly respected Clerk in Eastern Ontario, “Mr. Pominville helped countless Councils navigate the municipal world, and his expertise and attention to detail were hallmarks of his contribution and professionalism,” she added.
There was one job that Cahl performed over the past years that, perhaps, was not one he ever expected to have. The Clark of the Municipality was given the authority to perform civil marriages, and Cahl has touched the lives of the hundreds of couples whose marriages he has officiated over his esteemed career, including one of Karen Dunlop’s own children.
“Cahl has seen this municipality grow and has grown with it,” Karen said. “Expanding his knowledge base along the way but maintaining his gentlemanly ways which always include a kind smile and remark.” In his free time, he enjoyed scouting for the Kemptville 73s and, more recently, the Smiths Falls Bears. Hockey has always been a passion of his, as is only proper for a North Grenville boy, but others have known him in a different capacity too. Cahl is a drummer: rock ‘n roll or marching band, Cahl knows how to wield the sticks.
“There is no doubt that the Municipality just won’t feel quite the same without him, but we wish Cahl all the best in what we know will be a busy and full retirement,” noted Mayor Peckford. Members of the public are invited to share their best wishes at Cahl’s retirement party, set for Friday, November 29 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, at the Municipality of North Grenville.