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Ottawa transit head John Manconi to retire in September

OC Transpo general manager John Manconi will retire on Sept. 30, 2021. Beatrice Britneff / Global News

John Manconi, the head of OC Transpo and often the face of Ottawa’s light-rail transit system, will retire later this year.

A memo released Thursday afternoon says that Manconi, general manager of transportation services in Ottawa, will retire on Sept. 30 after 32 years at the city.

“I am very happy for John as he transitions to the next chapter of his life. However, I recognize that his departure will be felt by all in our organization,” said city manager Steve Kanellakos in the memo.

The outgoing transit boss served in various roles at the city for 20 years until 2007 when he became general manager of public works, later heading up transit services in 2012. Manconi took on the full transportation GM role in 2016, ahead of the launch of the first stage of LRT in Ottawa.

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Manconi has since acted as the city’s primary liaison between council and Rideau Transit Group amid a rocky start to Confederation Line service in September 2019.

Kanellakos even defended Manconi from public criticism and calls for his removal during the lowest points in the LRT system’s operations.

“I almost dread to imagine where we’d be if I didn’t have John and his team working every day,” he said in January 2020.

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Ottawa’s city manager defends OC Transpo top boss amidst poor LRT service – Jan 23, 2020

Mayor Jim Watson also thanked Manconi for steering the city through the “challenging first year” of LRT, which he said laid the groundwork for a “highly performing train service that will connect every corner of Ottawa in the coming years,” citing the ongoing construction of Stage 2 and plans for an eventual Stage 3.

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“John is a consummate professional and a respected leader in the world of public service and transportation. I wish him the best in this next chapter of his life,” Watson said.

Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley, chair of Ottawa’s transit commission, thanked Manconi on Twitter for his “hard work, guidance & friendship” over three decades of service.

The next five months will see the city search for a replacement and transition the next transportation GM into Manconi’s shoes.

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