North Grenville’s new-but-not-new Council was officially sworn into office at a ceremony taking place in the Council chambers on November 7. The ceremony allowed each Council member to take the oath of office, and as such, make a commitment to serve the Municipality honourably over the course of the next four years.
With two mayoral candidates and nine councillor candidates having run for just one and four available seats, respectively, this election produced interesting results in that the existing Council was re-elected in its entirety. For Mayor Nancy Peckford and Councillors John Barclay and Doreen O’Sullivan, the recent election victory is now their second, as they all won their seats in the 2018 election. For Councillors Kristin Strackerjan and Deb Wilson, last month’s election win was their first, since they were both appointed to replace departing Councillors during the last term.
Having an entire Council re-elected does not forego any of the formalities, such as the swearing in ceremony, since the oaths of office are taken for each term served. Municipal Councils must always have a minimum of five members. In North Grenville, one Mayor and four Councillors are elected. The Councillor who receives the highest number of votes – in this case John Barclay – is often des,nated as Deputy Mayor, though it is unclear if a Deputy Mayor will be designated this term or who it would be.
The Mayor is considered the head of Council, but only for purposes of directing Council meetings efficiently, and acting as a representative of the Municipality on a broader scale. The Mayor does not have any greater power when it comes to decision making than any other member of Council – all receive an equal vote for each decision.
North Grenville operates within a two-tier governing system, with an upper-tier Council (County Council of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville), and a lower-tier Council (the Mayor and Council specific to the Municipality of North Grenville). County Council is made up of the Mayors from the various municipalities throughout the Counties, headed by a Warden that is elected by the Council members themselves.
Council business is strictly governed by the Municipal Act of 2001, which is a piece of provincial legislation that outlines the roles and responsibilities of those who serve on municipal councils, including the procedures that must be followed. The tenets of the Municipal Act can often be a steep learning curve for those serving as Councillors for the first time. However, it is safe to say that the “new” Council sworn in this month will already be well versed!