OC Transpo boss Manconi to retire in September

John Manconi
John Manconi is retiring this fall after more than 30 years as a City of Ottawa employee. File photo

OC Transpo boss John Manconi will retire this fall after more than 30 years with the city, Ottawa’s top bureaucrat said Thursday.

In a memo to city councillors, city manager Steve Kanellakos said Manconi’s last day as general manager of transportation services will be Sept. 30. 

Kanellakos praised his longtime colleague as a “dynamic, results-driven leader” who oversaw the construction of the $2.1-billion east-west Confederation Line, the largest infrastructure project in Ottawa’s history.

“I am going to miss John’s strategic mind and counsel, proactive approach and his extensive experience navigating through extremely complex issues,” he wrote.

Calling the Confederation Line “the city’s most transformative project since the construction of the Rideau Canal,” Mayor Jim Watson lauded Manconi for his leadership in seeing the project through.

'Consummate professional'

“Thanks to his hard work and collaborative efforts, we now have a highly performing train service that will connect to every corner of Ottawa in the coming years, as we continue to advance the construction of Stage 2 LRT, followed by the rollout of Stage 3,” Watson said in a statement, describing Manconi as “a consummate professional and a respected leader in the world of public service and transportation.”

It will mark the end of a 32-year career at City Hall for Manconi. The 54-year-old served in various roles, including as Ottawa’s director of surface operations, before taking charge of the public works department from 2007 to 2012.

But it was in his next job as head of OC Transpo where Manconi became a household name. As the city’s point man on light rail, he was repeatedly called upon to explain numerous delays in the construction of the Confederation Line as well as ongoing service snafus that have plagued the system since.

Kanellakos said the city will conduct a “thorough search” for Manconi’s replacement but did not specify when his successor would be named.