The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 7, 2012

Gawronski leaves Ottumwa Transit

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa Transit’s executive director has resigned just short of nine months after she was hired.

Diane Gawronski submitted her letter of resignation on Thursday. It will take effect Jan. 5, 2013.

“The reason I left is ... I have enjoyed working with three of the Ottumwa Transit Advisory Board members,” she said.

There are currently five members serving on the board: Robert LaPoint, Shannon Addison, Nick Davis, Linda McClure and Larry Williams.

Gawronski would not elaborate on any problems she had with the board.

“My plan was to remain in my position until retirement,” she said. “I am very sad to leave.”

Gawronski had been approved as the new transit director last March at an Ottumwa City Council meeting.

Operations Manager Dave Silverio has been appointed interim director until the position can be filled. The city has started advertising for a replacement and is hoping to have a new director hired in February.

“We’ll look for somebody that is also going to reach out to other communities and has strong management skills,” said Ottumwa City Administrator Joe Helfenberger of the city’s search for a new director. “Experience in public transit is also extremely helpful.”

Gawronski said she is proud of the many accomplishments she made during her time at Ottumwa Transit.

“I am very passionate about public transit, and I worked diligently to make improvements and introduced some new initiatives,” she said. “I think I have always kept employees and riders as my primary focus. I care very deeply about them. I tried to make the transit experience more pleasant for the employees and all of the riders.”

During Gawronski’s time in the position, ridership increased dramatically from the previous year. In Friday’s Courier,  it was reported that from October 2011 to October 2012, ridership had jumped by more than 8,000.

“We really appreciate the job Diane did,” Helfenberger said. “She took a service that was struggling a year ago and is very strong right now.”

Helfenberger said he had no comment Friday on Gawronski’s reasons for leaving.

Ottumwa Transit also began a route review this year with the help of Bob Bourne, retired Ames Transit System administrator. The goal is to examine the current bus routes and decide where changes need to be made and whether the downtown bus shelter needs a new home.

Nine bus racks were installed on buses this year thanks to funds from a Community Transformation Grant awarded to Wapello County Public Health.

Gawronski and the 10-15 Transit Advisory Board had also been looking at ways to grow ridership regionally, including a prepaid voucher system at Mahaska County at Love In The Name Of Christ (Love INC) and Mahaska Health Partnership.

Ottumwa Transit and 10-15 Transit have been working their way back to normalcy after being rocked by charter and ridership violations in May 2011 that led to the firings of the organizations’ top two officials, Pam Ward and Tom Jones.

The next month, Mark Hagist was appointed as the interim director. 10-15 Transit began repaying approximately $423,000 to the Iowa Department of Transportation related to the violations.

“It has been a genuine pleasure to work with everyone affiliated with the 10-15 Regional Transit Agency, and I feel I have enjoyed a cordial and professional relationship with all of those board members,” Gawronski said.

Before coming to Ottumwa, Gawronski had served as a board member in establishing a transit system in Vicksburg, Miss.

“I wish both transit organizations the best in moving their operations forward. I feel that their success is critical to the quality of life of the riders in our communities.”

Gawronski said she plans to stay in Ottumwa and find a new job. Her husband, Larry, is the executive director of Bridge View Center.

“I’m sad. I’m very sad,” she said. “I had planned to stay there throughout the rest of my career.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0422 Eagle photo On a wing and a prayer

    LAKE RED ROCK — Protective gloves aren’t uncommon when dealing with a sick patient, though they’re not usually heavy, leather welder’s gloves. But, then, the patient usually doesn’t have toenails designed to puncture flesh. Or a sharp beak. Diane Mas

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420 OTT Gothic house easter web-color photo American Gothic House celebrates Easter weekend Kids participate in an egg roll competition Saturday on the American Gothic House lawn in Eldon. Families were invited to come and participate in Easter-themed events and make crafts. They also had the opportunity to dress up and pose in front of the

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0422 OTT Egg hunt color photo -L On a roll this Easter ELDON — If you pulled up to the American Gothic House Center Saturday afternoon at moments before 1 p.m., you probably had to park halfway down the road. Cars filled the parking lot and spilled out onto the street as parents and kids from all over so

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ups and downs OTTUMWA — Iowa's governor and his lieutenant seemed thrilled with part of the employment news Friday. Gov. Terry Branstad's Twitter page said: "BREAKING: Iowa's employment reaches all-time high of 1,615,200." Iowa Workforce Development confirms the n

    April 18, 2014

  • Those who came before OTTUMWA — There is so much information on researching genealogy, beginners may not know where to start. But experts and knowledgeable amateurs will offer help as they gather for a free Family History Fair to share which websites are worthwhile and wh

    April 18, 2014

  • 0419 OTT Tree planting color photo -T -M -L Young Ottumwans show their green thumbs OTTUMWA — Several of Ottumwa’s cemeteries and parks were recipients of new trees this week as Ottumwa High School students and Eagle Scouts dedicated their time to planting dozens of trees around the city. Students from the OHS JROTC class were at Ot

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0419 OTT Prayer Walk 2 bw photo -L -M -T On a journey OTTUMWA — The seven blocks through the center of Ottumwa took more than an hour and a half to walk as 25 people prayed and read Scripture to reflect on the events of Good Friday. Led by the Ottumwa Area Fellowship of Pastors, the walk began at First

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0419 OTT drought map -L -T -M Drought weakens grip on Iowa OTTUMWA — Last weekend saw the first significant rains in quite some time for the Ottumwa area. How long? The last day with at least a half-inch of rain was back on Nov. 20. It was a welcome rain, arriving after the ground had thawed. That allowed at

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eugene Clark STOCKPORT — Eugene Morris Clark, 90, of Stockport, died at 5:30 p.m. April 17, 2014, at Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ottumwa. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Spencer Cemetery northeast of Stockport; Pastor Richard

    April 18, 2014

  • Civil War Round Table visited by baseball historian OTTUMWA — The Civil War Round Table was treated to a special guest Thursday night and a presentation about how baseball during the Civil War era helped shape Iowa as we know it. John Liepa, former history and political science professor at Des Moines

    April 18, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition