North Grenville’s own Mayor Nancy Peckford has been selected as the next Warden of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville for the 2023-2024 term. The Municipality sent out a note of congratulations after the decision was made by unanimous vote at the November 23 United Counties Council meeting.
“The Warden serves as the Head of Counties Council and is elected every two years by the ten member Mayors who sit on the Counties Council,” reads a municipal release. “In recent years, the position alternates between the Counties of Grenville and Leeds. The Warden presides over all Counties Council meetings, sits on all Committees and represents the Counties at a variety of meetings or official functions.”
Mayor Peckford’s appointment comes with two distinctions. She is only the fourth female Warden of the United Counties in 172 years, and is the first Warden under the age of 55. Mayor Peckford has already been sworn in to the new role. At the ceremony, she spoke of her pride in the United Counties. “The brilliant blend of urban and rural in this region, not to mention the resilience, innovation, persistence and loyalty of residents and business leaders across the Counties is remarkable, and in my opinion largely unheralded on the national stage,” she said. “While some of our communities are increasingly becoming more urbanized, I believe it is our deep rural roots, and our rural character that has largely defined our evolution as the United Counties, and how we continue to evolve as caring, compassionate, determined and fiscally responsible stewards and leaders.”
Mayor Peckford has pledged to address issues such as housing, inflation, access to health care and long term care, investments in a variety of County roads, the promotion of community safety and well-being, and environmental and climate change considerations in her term as Warden. “I give you my commitment today that I will bring my absolute best to the table as your Warden, and work to create the conditions for robust and respectful dialogue, deliberation, and decision making, that is always responsive and responsible to the people we were elected to serve,” she said.
Outgoing Warden Roger Haley passed the Chain of Office to Warden Peckford in a ceremony attended by all Leeds and Grenville heads of council. Roger Haley is the Mayor of Front of Yonge Township. He thanked his Counties Council colleagues, both past and present, and staff for their support during his tenure as Warden. “It’s definitely been an honour to serve as Warden these past two years, and it’s been a great learning experience,” he said.
Solicitor John Simpson administered the Oath of Office to Council and Warden Peckford. Several special guests were on hand for the inaugural meeting to welcome and congratulate the new Warden, including Mayor Matt Wren of the City of Brockville, Mayor Gauri Shankar of the Town of Prescott, Mayor John Beddows of the Town of Gananoque as well as members of the Municipality of North Grenville Council. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark brought greetings by way of video, as did Member of Parliament Michael Barrett.
Although acting as the leader of the upper-tier Counties Council, the main duty of the Warden role involves chairing Counties Council meetings to ensure they run with civility and efficiency. There is no specific benefit of having the Warden of the United Counties be our own municipality’s Mayor, though it stands to reason that North Grenville’s interests will be well-represented at Counties Council over the next two years, along with the other municipalities in Leeds and Grenville. Mayor Peckford’s executive experience, combined with her four-year tenure as Mayor and recent landslide re-election, made her a good candidate for the honour of the Warden’s Chair. Congratulations, Mayor Peckford!