Susan Genzale To Complete Late Husband’s Term As Sewer District Commissioner

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by Ralph Nichols

The Southwest Suburban Sewer District announced Feb. 18 that Susan (Suzy) Genzale has been appointed to complete the commission term of her late husband, Tony, who died of cancer Dec. 4.

Mrs. Genzale will be sworn in as the new sewer district commissioner at the Board of Commissioners meeting on March 1. The term ends on Dec. 31, 2015.

Tony Genzale, a well-known owner of produce markets in the Highline area, was first elected to the sewer district commission in November 2003 and was vice president of the board at the time of his death.

Mrs. Genzale has worked as a nurse and as a partner in charge of the financial end of the family’s produce business.

“I consider it a real honor to represent the ratepayers, and I look forward to looking out for their interests,” she said following her selection. “I have a high regard for the ratepayers, for Commissioners Bill Tracy and Scott Hilsen, General Manager Ron Hall, and the district staff.”

Nine persons applied for position and six were interviewed. The other finalists were Robert Edgar, Thomas Evankovich, Daniel Johnson, Joseph Lyons, and Donald Theiler.

“All of the applicants were excellent, and each one brought a unique combination of skills and knowledge to the table” Hall said.

“Suzy stood out because of her strong desire to continue the seat’s legacy of being an advocate for the ratepayers, along with the great amount of preparation she did upon submitting her application.”

Hilsen, the commission president, noted, “Suzy asked for tours of our facilities, and read through all of the minutes posted on our site. She really came to the interview with a lot of knowledge about the district and its ongoing business and issues.”

“Suzy’s answers to all of our questions were outstanding, but the questions that she asked us were even more impressive,” Tracy added. “I think she will be a great addition to the Board.”

Tony Genzale’s election in 2003 helped stabilize commission management of the sewer district after a contentious period that ended when one incumbent commissioner was recalled by the ratepayers and another was defeated – by him – in the next election.

At the time, Tony wrote in his campaign statement, “I plan to continue bringing to the table the sound business logic that has enabled me to own and operate my own business all these years. I feel that it’s my obligation to be a representative of the ratepayers – insuring that any expenses occurring during my term will be valid and honest.”

Mrs. Genzale told The B-Town Blog, “I was so devastated at losing my husband. He enjoyed his work with the sewer district. He brought a lot of common sense and was making so much progress in getting harmony back in the district. There was so much chaos before.

“I want to continue with my Anthony’s legacy. I want to represent our ratepayers and employees. I’m just so lucky to have the opportunity to pay it forward and honor his name and honor the district. I believe in our district and who I’m working with.”

She recalled that Tony “would come home and say they’re the best. That everyone brings something good to the table.

“Ron worked his way from the ground level up. Bill has been serving the district since the early 90s. Scott is very good with computers. I’m very honored to be working with these gentlemen. They’ve done so much. I’m so excited and I’m going to be learning from the best.”

She vowed to bring to the commission “the same business sense that my husband brought, and to make sure that any expenses are needed ones.”

On a lighter note, Mrs. Genzale said, “I think I’m the first woman commissioner – maybe the second – in the Southwest Suburban Sewer District. I’m not a women’s libber but believe in an equal voice for women. So it’s kind of cool to have a woman on board.”

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