Officials Pay Tribute to Ed Masry

At a special meeting, Thousand Oaks council members praise the work of the late former city councilman.

Source of this article – Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2005

By gregory w. Griggs
Times Staff Writer

Thousand Oaks officials gathered this week to pay tribute to the late Edward L. Masry, the celebrated environmental attorney and former councilman and mayor who died earlier this month.

“The city lost one of its very bright stars when it lost Ed Masry,” Councilman Dennis Gillette said during a special meeting Thursday night. Gillette recounted working closely with Masry in overseeing the city attorney’s office for about a year until a new official was hired.

Masry, who had been repeatedly hospitalized since March, died Dec. 5 of complications from diabetes. He resigned his council seat Nov. 30 after serving five years on the panel.

Councilman Andy Fox recalled how he and Masry built a friendship. Masry once invited him to a Dodger game, Fox said, and later admitted that it was his first visit to Dodger Stadium.

Her voice quivering with emotion, outgoing Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Peña described the crusading attorney, portrayed by actor Albert Finney in the movie “Erin Brockovich,” as kind, generous and courageous.

“Ed, you were one of a kind,” she said. “You fought for what you thought was right and stood up for residents when you thought their concerns fell on deaf ears. In short, you were a champion of the people … you were a giant.”

Masry’s wife, Joette, and two sons attended the meeting and were presented with a tile of the Thousand Oaks seal to recognize his public service and a memory book reflecting his years on the council. The office of Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) presented a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on the day Sherman learned of Masry’s death.

Also Thursday, the council swore in Masry’s replacement, Thomas Glancy, and selected Gillette to serve a second term as mayor. Fox was chosen as mayor pro tem.

The panel dedicated a seat in Masry’s name at Scherr Forum Theatre, the portion of the Civic Arts Plaza that also serves as the council’s chambers. In addition, the council named seats on behalf of two community volunteers along with Assistant City Manager Don Nelson and City Clerk Nancy Dillon, both of whom officially retire this month.

Nelson spent two decades overseeing Thousand Oaks’ public works and former utilities departments before assuming the city’s No. 2 post in May. In his 26 years with the city, Nelson coordinated hundreds of road, sewer and storm drain projects, created the city’s recycling program, converted a third of the municipal fleet to alternative fuels and helped create Hill Canyon Wetland, which won a national award and is said to be the largest man-made wetland in Ventura County.

Dillon, a 29-year city employee, began as a typist-clerk in October 1976 and became city clerk six years later. Along with coordinating local elections, she developed a leave program in which city employees are permitted to donate vacation days to fellow workers in need of extra time off.

The council unanimously voted to confer the title city clerk emeritus on Dillon. The distinction has been used twice before in Thousand Oaks — for the late Alex Fiore, a council member for 30 years, and Grant Brimhall, who was city manager for 20 years.

Both Dillon and Nelson will work part time, as needed, for several months until their successors are in place.

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