Gerry Mellott left a lasting impression on those who worked closely with him during his time as the chief administrative officer for the District of Metchosin. Mellott, who served as CAO for the District from 1990 to 2005, died on July 24.
Margaret Roper worked with Mellott during that span, much of it in her role as deputy clerk. “Gerry had a wonderful sense of humour, very dry,” she recalled. “When he first came to work with us he was a very quiet accounting type, which was his background, and we were a very merry bunch. He soon relaxed and fit right in.”
Another quality Roper admired was the demeanour Mellott brought to the position. “When you work in a municipality things can get pretty hectic, especially when there’s a controversial item at a council meeting,” she explained. “Gerry was the eye of the storm, always a calming influence and very diplomatic. I believe he was Metchosin’s longest-serving CAO.”
Mellott, a certified general accountant, grew up in Dawson Creek before he went to work as a statistician and cost accountant with Prince George Pulp and Paper. He then worked in Port Hardy for MacMillan Bloedel and fell in love with Victoria after vacationing in the area. An avid scuba diver, Mellott eventually made the move to Victoria after working in Nanaimo for eight years.
Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, who hired Mellott, said he was a real asset to the District. “It was sad to hear,” Ranns said. “I liked Gerry. First and foremost, he was a very decent, ethical guy. He did well for us, and I very much appreciated the time he spent in Metchosin. We were quite lucky to have had him during that period.”
Ranns was quick to agree that Mellott had a great sense of humour as well. He shared an anecdote from their time together that Ranns believes paints a clear picture of the difference between a politician and a bureaucrat.
“We were going to a meeting at Juan de Fuca Recreation on a weekend and the parking lot was completely empty,” Ranns said. “Gerry was driving and he took a circuitous route, following the lines around the lot. When I asked him why he just didn’t cut across, Gerry said ‘Those lines are there for a reason.’ It outlines the difference between politicians who like to cut corners and staffers who are all about the process.”