Sunday, February 11, 2007

Charles J. DiPasquale

Charles J. DiPasquale: A Mount Morris Family Man

By: Joseph W. Norman

“Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.” This is one of Chuck DiPasquale’s favorite quotes and it happens to be by an individual he would have loved to meet, the late President John F. Kennedy. The initiative for service this quote presents is what motivates Mr. DiPasquale. He has always believed that education and community service are required and essential elements for the moral and ethical development of a good citizen and a fruitful and prosperous society. His high ideals are reflected in a lifetime of personal achievements, and dedication to the betterment and well being of others. In fact, he believes “Everybody is put on this earth for a reason. I believe mine is to serve the public.” In particular, his service has been primarily to his hometown of Mount Morris, New York. Currently he is the Town Supervisor for the community but he has served in other capacities such as, his efforts to become an Eagle Scout, as the retired Chief of Police for Mount Morris, and as an active participant and many times director of countless organizations. He has stimulated much positive change with his life’s work. His number one service though has always been to his family.

In respect to that family, he has been married happily to his wife Mary for forty two years. Divorce is one of the highest occurring things for people in law enforcement because of the amount of time spent serving. “You sit down to dinner and the phone rings and out the door you go, especially in a small town.” He reflects, “My wife is a special person though and she put up with it all.” They have four children, Ray, Charles, Nicole, and David. All of them are grown up and out of the house, “for the most part,” he quips. He has six grandchildren and spends much of his spare time with them. In fact, he can be hard to catch because a few of his mornings are dedicated to babysitting some of them. One thing that he brings to the Town Supervisor position that is unique though is his scheduled availability. He welcomes the community members into his “office hours” each week and values their comments and questions. This visibility he feels has helped him make a positive impact on Mount Morris. Another thing he values and supports highly is young people. In fact, he said his “pet peeve” is young people because they are the future of our world. Their education is quintessential for the overall success of our civilizations. Some of his big initiatives in his current role are for the betterment of education. In fact, he was a Mount Morris Central School Board member for over twenty years, some of them as the Board President.

He was born in Mount Morris and graduated from his home town’s school in 1961. After graduating, he furthered his education by attending Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota before answering his country’s call to duty in 1963 when he served in the United States Army Medical Corps for three years. Upon returning to Mount Morris after his service he became a police officer in the Village police department and was promoted to Chief of Police after only four years. Meanwhile, he attended Erie County Community College, receiving a degree in Criminal Justice in 1972. Throughout these efforts he was able to accomplish a great deal and created positive change in nearly every organization he got involved with. He was one of the original founding fathers of the Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement educational program at Charles G. May Occupational Center in Mount Morris. Also, he became the first Criminal Justice Instructor at the May Center and received his Teaching Certificate from SUNY Utica Rome. From 1972 until his retirement in 2000 from the May Center, he held both full time professions as a teacher and Chief of Police. He retired as Chief of Police one year later, after thirty five years of service.

After that small look into the professional career of Chuck DiPasquale one can see where his passions are. However, that is only scratching the surface of what this man accomplished in his many other endeavors. He was the Livingston County Fire Fighter of the Year, Explorer Scout Man of the Year, former member of the Saint Patrick’s Elementary School Board, member of the Mount Morris Youth Committee, member of the Mount Morris Fire Department (since 1967), one of the Originating Founders of the Mount Morris Ambulance Corps, member and past President of the Mount Morris Kiwanis Club, member of the Knights of Columbus, Mount Morris Town Constable (since 1967), and the past President of the Livingston County Law Enforcement Council. After this impressive list of service one can understand that Supervisor DiPasquale admits to “having trouble saying ‘no.’” Also, when asked how much sleep he got a night, his answer was three to four hours. “My mind is going continuously.” In fact, you might find him in his office at four in the morning he says.

What motivates a man to give so much to his community? For Chuck it is his passion to help people and his love of Mount Morris. He has given much to his community, including his time, energy, and love. His values and dedication were instilled in him by his family and he seeks to lead others by staying true to his own principles. One thing that he despises is waste, both financial and time. He considers the two biggest culprits to this waste are dishonesty and fraud. When he was elected Town Supervisor a little over a year ago, he declined his $10,000 salary and gave it back to the town. He said it can be used better elsewhere and he wanted to make a statement about what he envisions for Mount Morris’s future. In addition, he is a huge advocate for shared services to limit financial waste for the Village and the Town. It is all about positive change. They have been blessed by a Main Street road renovation project which really improved the aesthetic qualities of Mount Morris, at least in one respect. This has been a good base to start from in turning around the community. The town is troubled by a low tax base, so one of Chuck’s main goals is to bring in new business. He believes that will boost morale and economic conditions. Mr. DiPasquale also loves writing grants, so those skills have come in handy to pay for the necessary projects.

Mr. DiPasquale’s other interests include plain Hershey bars, seafood, and sports. He loves to watch his grandchildren compete in their various endeavors. In fact, some of his grandchildren compete for the neighboring community of Geneseo, New York. This creates an interesting predicament for him, especially when Geneseo competes against Mount Morris. He is often caught cheering his children (and in turn, Geneseo) in the community he helps run. To him this is not an issue as the game day controversy makes for a good laugh. One piece of advice that Chuck has is for people to realize that “Everybody can get along, they really can; anything can be mediated.” In fact, he says if one just let the people work it out, it could happen. “The only problem is the politicians,” he quipped with a smile. “Not the small town ones though.” His favorite book and one that inspired him is Philosophy of Life by Swami Krishnananda. He enjoys watching “I Love Lucy” and his favorite movie is the first in the Rocky series. To round out this comprehensive individual, he enjoys traveling domestically. There is too much to see in the United States before he can venture elsewhere.

His many experiences have taught him a few key things, one of which is to take time before making decisions and always learn from your mistakes. “I have made a thousand mistakes in my life, but if you can learn from each mistake you make, you can better yourself.” The conversation with Mr. DiPasquale ended right where it began, talking about family. He said a person he would like to meet (or see again rather) is his father, and one of his favorite gifts is a picture given to him many years ago by his daughter when she was in kindergarten. This photo remains framed on the wall in his office.

The people of Mount Morris are family to Charles DiPasquale and he treats them as such, with respect and passion. There is no doubt that he will serve them humbly towards a better future.

Charles J. DiPasquale
Mount Morris Town Supervisor
103 Main Street
Mount Morris, NY 14510