Changes to the NG Council

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The news has been released that Deputy Mayor, Jim McManaman, is stepping down from his position on the North Grenville Municipal Council, as of February 24, less than two weeks away. The move was unexpected. As Jim put it: “Firstly we had to firm up the purchase of the property in mid-December and wanted to inform our immediate family first, which we did over Christmas. Council Colleagues were informally notified in early January, and then formally in a closed session on January 19.” Jim and his wife, Cathy, are starting what they are calling “the next chapter” in their lives, and it’s quite an adventure. They had the opportunity to buy a property in Cape Breton, an opportunity they weren’t expecting quite so soon, and it was one they couldn’t pass up.

The property, located in Cape North, dates from 1859, and has had only three owners in all that time. This heritage property is on the ocean, and has been operating as an inn for some years. Jim and Cathy intend to carry on the business and, typically of Jim, there is a 5-year plan in place already.

There had been rumours doing the rounds already that Jim was thinking of not running for re-election, and this announcement means that there will be at least one new face on Council, whatever the results of the municipal election, which is due in October.

Jim and Cathy have been very influential in the municipality since they arrived here almost thirty years ago. Cathy is an executive at the Canadian Automobile Association, and Jim ran his own business in Kemptville for many years. A large part of the population know him from his tax business, and even more through his work with the Knights of Columbus. As Chair of the Sweetheart Brunch event for the past several years, he and his team have been responsible for organizing an event that has become an annual tradition in the community and has raised just shy of $400,000 for local charities and the Food Bank operated by the Knights through Holy Cross parish, where Jim and Cathy were also very involved.

More information can be found in the Municipality’s press release to be found in this issue of the Times. Another announcement from the Municipality concerns the process which is being set in motion to find a replacement for Jim to serve for the duration of the current Council, ending in December of this year. But, before then, Council has to deal with the interviews of those putting themselves forward for consideration as Jim’s successor. The “lame duck” period before the election, when it is traditional for councils to cease from taking decisions that might bind the next group of people to take on the role.

This will be a difficult choice for council to make. The current team of five, Mayor and four Councillors, have proved to be a well-matched group, working well together, and adding their individual talents and experience, working well with municipal staff, to create a generally positive atmosphere in the Municipal Centre.

There are certainly issues on which some residents will find themselves opposing this council, and that is to be expected in a democracy. They are issues that will, no doubt, be debated and decided during the election campaign later this year, and in the counting of votes that will be the community’s judgment on the past term of council.

But Jim McManaman will be far from the uncertainties of an election campaign, as he and Cathy undertake their new adventure in Cape North. So, as they prepare for the next chapter, North Grenville will see them leave with sadness for our loss of two valued citizens, and gratitude for all they have contributed to us during their 28-year stay. We wish them well and God’s blessing in all they do.

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