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Tuesday April 17th, 2012  
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   Volume 82 - Issue 15 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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"We need a government that will actually think about the long term, use best evidence and plan for the future by protecting water as a primary resource."
- Dr. David Swann  
   
   

 

Story
Kimberley Massey photo
Interim Manger of Enforcement Services Donna Tona was recently awarded the Cambridge Registry’s Professional of the Year Award in Emergency Management Consulting.
 
Donna Tona, who currently serves as Interim Manager of Enforcement Services for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, was recently named as Professional of the Year in Emergency Management Consulting by the Cambridge Registry, an international organization comprised of business professionals from across the globe.
Tona was selected from a list of over 4,000 people for the prestigious award, which is handed out every year based on the individual’s professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, years of service and credentials.
“It was a total surprise because this is the type of award that you don’t apply for,” said Tona, who received word in February that she had been selected for the award.
While she was unable to attend the awards presentation due to her commitments in Crowsnest Pass, Tona received two airline tickets to anywhere in North America and completed a radio interview in conjunction with receiving the award.
Tona - who is a partner in Transitional Solutions Inc. and CEO of her own company Tona O’Reilly Associates Inc. - has been serving as Manager of Enforcement Services on an interim basis for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass since December 2010, taking on the large tasks of establishing the community’s Peace Officer program, rewriting bylaws and working with local enforcement services and residents to identify local issues.
Tona said the Peace Officer program has been one of her biggest challenges while in Crowsnest Pass, as she has strived to ensure a high standard of excellence and integrity and seamless integration into the community by Peace Officers.
“Contrary to popular belief, they’re not going to be running around with ticket books and hiding in the bushes,” said Tona.
“They are going to be working with people as much as they can.”
She noted that since the inception of the program, the number of calls which have been received at the municipal office relating to local bylaw enforcement has grown substantially, adding that she hopes to hold an open house in June or July where residents can come see the equipment and vehicles the peace officers will be operating, as well as meeting with the officers and learning more about the program.
She said she will also be seeking a great deal of public consultation regarding three big bylaws which will be coming forward this summer – the ATV Bylaw, Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw and Community Standards Bylaw, which deals with unsightly properties - a major issue in Crowsnest Pass.
“That is one of our biggest challenges in the Pass,” said Tona.
“It is a delicate dance working with people on their private property,” she said.
“We have to have a lot of respectful conversations relative to their particular situation and ensure that we can help them.”
Tona noted that over the past several months, local enforcement services have worked with teams from Lethbridge and Pincher Creek to aid “vulnerable citizens” who need help and support, such as those living in derelict homes.
“We’ve had some amazing successes,” she said.
 

“It’s been a huge challenge but also very rewarding.”
Prior to coming to the Pass, Tona served as the Interim Director of Community Services and Director of Enforcement Services for the Town of Morinville and as Interim General Manager of Community Services for the City of Cold Lake before that.
Long before she became involved in interim municipal management, Tona - who grew up on a cattle farm in Rimbey, Alberta - received her education in Business Administration at Red Deer College and her Justice degree at Mount Royal University, before beginning her enforcement career as an Alberta Highway Patrol Officer, prior to being hired as the Civilian General Manager of Community Services for the Calgary Police Service (CPS).
During her time with the CPS, Tona aided victims of crime, working with a staff of over 100 people in the areas of vice, homicide and sex crimes.
It was also during this time that Tona received a Solicitor General Crime Prevention Award for developing the CPS’s Victim Robbery Prevention program in 1998.
Tona left the CPS in 1991, when she started her own company, Tona O’Reilly Associates Inc. with her husband Lyndon O’Reilly.
That same year, Tona received her first big contract, working for Cuna Mutual, the insurance company of record for the credit union which was destroyed in the Oklahoma City Bombing.
This sparked the beginning of her career in disaster management, going on to work on the 1997 Red River Floods in Manitoba, the 1998 ice storm in Toronto, the sinking of a ship in Tobermory, Ontario in 2000, the E coli outbreak in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000, and Fiji hostage crisis in 2000.
Tona was also cited in a book by the New York Psychological Association for her work with one of the units which debriefed clinicians and mental health workers who were on the scene following the collapse of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2011.
Other career highlights include being published in seven journals, including the RCMP Gazette, and receiving five international film and video awards for her work on training videos for Co-Operators Insurance on the subjects of “Dishonesty in the Workplace”, “Violence and Harassment in the Workplace”, and “Officer Down: Trauma Associated with Uniform Personnel”.
“I’ve had a great career,” said Tona.
“I like everywhere I’ve been and everywhere I’m potentially going.”
Tona said the past few months she has spent in Crowsnest Pass have been very rewarding and she and her husband have enjoyed becoming part of the community.
She said she does not have a definitive timeline as to how much longer she will remain in Crowsnest Pass, adding that it depends on the completion of the projects she has undertaken.
“Once all of Council’s deliverables have been met, there will be an excellent program that’s being run and I’ll be off to another municipality,” said Tona.
When she is not working to solve problems within municipal organizations and communities across Alberta and other provinces with Transitional Solutions, Tona also lectures, does motivational speaking and training and teaches anger management to parolees.
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