FOR THE PUBLIC: Dennis Cassella
Town where I live: I live on Cypress Hill in Grass Valley.
My Job Title: Most recently (since 1985), I served Nevada County as director of general and emergency services. Retirement finally caught up with me in August 2002. Now I work with Hospice of the Foothills, the Nevada County Library Foundation, Gold County Lions, the Retired Public Employees Association and the Nevada City Constitution Day Parade Commission.
What I do in my job: While with Nevada County, my department responsibilities included purchasing, central services, emergency services, facility management, county collections, vehicle fleet management and county/state fair projects.
Why my job is important to the public: As director of general and emergency services, it was important that the services assigned to my department were delivered as efficiently as possible, while staying within the budgeted funds provided by the taxpayers and Board of Supervisors.
The special skills and talents I bring to my job: Public servants must have a deep understanding and appreciation of the democratic processes of government and a commitment to make government work. While we provide services to our community, we are also customers of those same services, as well. Foremost in my mind were questions such as “Am I respecting the rights of businesses to be profitable, while protecting the taxpayers’ right to a full measure for their dollar?” “Are we representing Nevada County as a responsible county government?” Having a master’s degree in public administration certainly set a good foundation.
The best part of my job is when: Foresight and preparation combine to avoid disruption to Nevada County, as in Emergency Services. A great staff and their dedication to excellence results in awards from others for the services provided by General Services. The part of my job I liked the least was: Emergency services director, being on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for 17 years.
The day of work I’ll always remember was: The Sunday that the 49er Fire began, the weekend of the Constitution Day Parade in Nevada City.
How I got my job: I was originally hired by the Nevada County Department of Public Social Services. I was promoted six weeks later to another department and thus began a career as a county department head that lasted 25 years.
My dream job would be: If I were younger, to be the city manager of Nevada City. It is a city where you can see the accomplishments of your efforts on a daily basis.
My family: I grew up in a large, extended family in and around Sacramento. I now live in Grass Valley with my partner, and my dog, Te Quiero.
My hobbies: Reading; travel, especially Hawaii; history; movies.
When I was a kid: I was introduced to the Sacramento Library by my parents and sixth-grade teacher. Thus started a love of reading.
If money were no object I would: Repave every street in Nevada City throughout its one square mile.
My dream vacation: Several months in Europe and then a trip to China
If a movie were made of my life, I would be played by: Kenneth Branagh, more likely Wilfred Brimley.
The people who made the greatest difference in my life: My parents (both civil servants), followed by my sixth- grade teacher, Alva Hollander.
My hero: King Henry V of England, as portrayed by Shakespeare and Kenneth Branagh.
The best book I have read recently: “John Adams” by David McCullough, for the insight into the minds of this country’s founding fathers.
The soundtrack of my life would include these songs: “Sailing,” “Celtic Rhythms and Moods,” most Sarah Brightman compositions and Celine Dion, too.
I like living in Nevada County because: The rural lifestyle, little traffic, you know your neighbors, short lines and the stunning seasons.
“For the Public” appears each Wednesday. To suggest a person to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.
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