Getting to know Mayor Steve Pellegrini: Making time for what’s important (King Weekly Sentinel Article)

Getting to know Mayor Steve Pellegrini: Making time for what’s important (King Weekly Sentinel Article)

This article by Mark Pavilons, Editor of try King Weekly Sentinel is reproduced and appeared January 30, 2013.

MARK PAVILONS

KING WEEKLY SENTINEL

 

King’s mayor is enjoying his “dream job,”but it takes an effort to juggle work and family.

Steve Pellegrini follows the adage “making time for what’s important.” And what’s important is his wife, children and his extended family – the en- tire population of King Township.

It’s people – all kinds of people from all walks of life – who make his role interesting.

While far from a “ca- reer politician,” Pellegri- ni’s political contribu- tions began in 2000 when was elected councillor for Ward 1, just a few months after moving to King from Richmond Hill.

What sets him apart, and gives him a bit of an edge, is that he’s been a municipal government employee for more than three decades. That has provided him a unique vantage point.

He literally wanted to make a difference “from the other side,” and he wanted to “make things happen.”

Backed by his strong sense of civic responsibil- ity, he embarked on what has become a successful political journey.

“I truly love serving the residents of King. Every day is different and excit- ing.”

There have been several memorable moments en route to the mayor’s chair. “I think the best one was the first time I heard from residents and staff that I have created an atmosphere that allows people the opportunity to speak and be heard,”he said. “There is a positive energy in the Township. I am very proud and humbled by the positive feedback.”

Steve and his family

The mayor begins his days bright and early. He’s notoriously upbeat and often “spectacular.” Why?

He enjoys every waking moment and living life to its fullest each day. That may sound cliche, but Steve lives it.

“I get out of bed with new challenges and interesting activities ahead of me each day. I am a strong believer that there is lots of time to sleep when we are dead, so I want to enjoy every minute. Time moves quickly, but we can each make a difference every day.”

Simply put, he loves what he does and has no regrets. He has a big family, his main priority in life.

Time is precious, and he makes sure there’s always some put aside to spend with his children. He freely admits he’s blessed in many ways.

“I am blessed with a large, happy, healthy and supportive family,” he said. “I have my dream job and from the feedback Ihave been receiving, people seem pleased with my job performance. I live in the best place in the world!”

 

He added it’s simply not fair to return home from work each day and be in a “mood.”

He and his wife Barbara have made sure their children – Stephanie, 21; Ashley, 19; Emma, 12; Joey and David, 8 – are well grounded.

The older two are in university and will graduate debt-free. The father of five says he speaks openly and frankly with his kids, instilling respect and fun- damental values.

Parents know when they’ve done well. One such moment came when one of his daughters was at the hairdresser during the last election campaign and convinced a female voter to become a Pellegrini supporter.

The mayor also juggles a part-time job with the City of Brampton. You’d think he’d be stretched a little thin, but Pellegrini boasts one of the best attendance records at the Region of York and rarely misses a meeting or public event.

The mayor and his family share a love of the outdoors, and enjoy skiing/snowboarding in the winter. During the summer, sailing, golf and motocross are on the list of things to do. He admitted that he came from a golfing family – both his father and brother are pros – but this “gene skipped me.” He has a fairway and green in his backyard, but admits he hasn’t used them in some time. A quiet game of cards with the kids also suits him just fine.

Pellegrini spent most of his youth in or around the water. He competed in the 1990 national lifeguard competition in Newfound- land. He was also on the Ontario Junior Sailing Team.

But these days he enjoys having his feet planted firmly on terra firma and the place he loves is King.

His main message is constant – he urges everyone to get involved by volunteering, and he encourages everyone to shop locally.

“King is beautiful because of the people who are actively involved in our community, so volunteer,” he says. “And of course, I truly believe that we should always shop locally.”

His message is sinking in and his enthusiasm is often contagious.

King is also very asset rich, boasting four libraries and three arenas. King has a strong volunteer fire department and there are countless volunteers in the dozens of active service clubs and community groups.

There’s a tremendous amount of community pride, he points out, adding “it’s our role to get people involved.” Informing residents is half the battle; engaging them is the coup.

And Pellegrini said his time and energy is best spent “doing what’s right”and not trying to “get re-elected.”

His family and friends make him smile and laugh every day. And they also make sure he stays centred.

And his 11-year-old black lab Blue always has a wag or two in reserve.

Blessed? You bet.