Tribute to Town Treasurer Lessard
Suzanne Lessard, long-time employee of the municipality of Sutton, was recently honoured by Mayor Michel Lafrance for her 45 years of hard work. “I started May 16, 1976,” she said, on receiving a flag with Town’s coat of arms in congratulation from the mayor. “Mayor Winston Bresee had to twist my arm to come since I really wasn’t sure. And then I fell in love with the municipal world!”
The dynamic treasurer of the Town of Sutton has known no less than 15 different mayors and as many councils. “When I arrived, the Town and Township of Sutton were two separate municipalities, but the administration worked in the same building for both and our wages were paid half and half. In 1984, there was a kind of administrative divorce between the two and everything was split: during that time, I was an employee of the Township, which was a much larger territory. “
Hired initially as a receptionist-cashier, Lessard rose through the ranks, experiencing a multitude of roles. As assistant secretary-treasurer (equivalent to assistant to general management], she kept the minutes and took care of the treasury. She even served as director general for a few months under Mayor Kenneth Hill. “The only department I haven’t worked in is urban planning,” said Lessard. “I dabbled in everything and loved it so much! I also took evening classes at university for seven years, majoring in accounting. “
On being asked what she remembered most from all the years, Lessard answered without hesitation: “The most beautiful thing for me is all the people I have met. In particular, I was influenced by the wisdom and exemplary nature of Madame Jeanne-Noël de Tilly, former secretary-treasurer [equivalent to director general], now deceased. She taught me that, no matter what, when you take responsibility you have to take it seriously. For example, once when we had a huge snowstorm and the roads hadn’t been cleared yet, she got up at 4 a.m. to come in on foot and not be late at the office!”
Lessard says her greatest professional challenge was coordinating the merger of the Township and the Town of Sutton, imposed by ministerial decree in 2002. “Everything had to be rebuilt from scratch. That was quite a job!”
An invaluable resource of Sutton’s municipal history, Lessard remains passionate about her work. The Town is proud to be able to count on the unwavering dedication and enthusiasm of its Treasurer.