It’s no surprise that Gina Eleccion, Management Analyst for the City of Benicia, is a New Yorker by birth. Behind the genuine smile is a woman with grit who knows how to get things done. Born in Queens, Gina moved to Massapequa before moving out West at the age of 10 with her parents and two siblings.
Making Things Happen
Benicia is where she’s set roots for the past 23 years, and for 15 of those years she has worked for the city. With a background in retail management at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, she was ready for a change, and took an entry-level job as an administrative clerk in the city manager’s office. She was promoted to the Community Development Department where she managed both the Historic Preservation Review Commission and the Sustainability Commission. For the past two years she had a duel role with the police and fire departments, however, this June she began full time with the fire department.
“Everything I do is to support the chief, our division chiefs and all of our firefighters, and ultimately make their jobs easier and safer,” she says. In her project management role, she is working on updating the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, which is a safety strategy for avoiding major hazards and disasters. She’ll also work on updating the city’s Emergency Operations Plan.
The fire department is the city’s emergency operations center, says Gina, and the fire chief makes sure every city employee is trained and knows their role in case of a disaster. “People assume that because it’s a small town, there’s not much going on. But on a daily basis there is so much happening. The training is intense, and if, God forbid, anything were to happen, everyone is ready to step in,” she said.
About the fire department staff she says, “I would trust these guys with my life. They are so dedicated to what they do, and so compassionate with the citizens of Benicia. I hope that people understand that they are training twenty four-seven, and they go the extra mile every day.”
A Soccer and Hockey Fan
What people might not know about Gina is that she’s been playing soccer since she was seven years old, and was a coach for the Benicia Arsenal F.C. soccer club for more than seven years. After 40 years of the game, her knees are taking a break. But she and her friends are still avid sports fans. “People think I enjoy hockey just a bit, until they get to know me and realize I’m a real hockey fan,” she says, smiling. Her team is the New York Islanders, but she says she’s grown to love the Sharks.