Mayoral Candidate Colleen Lynas

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Questions for Candidates for Mayor:

How do you see the role of Mayor in relation to: a. Council colleagues, b. the wider community, c. the United Counties, and d. the Provincial government?

I consider myself very fortunate to live in beautiful North Grenville with its combination of deep rural roots and small-town charm. I chose to retire here in 2018 after working in the healthcare field throughout my career. Having acquired a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and a diploma in Human Resources Management from McMaster University, I enjoyed a rewarding career in clinical social work, and later within the hospital system in labour relations, risk management, patient experience and clinical management.  Locally, I co-chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing and sat on the board of Seniors’ Community Services and the Country Walk Community Association. I am a founding member of the local grassroots group, the Coalition Against the Proposed Prison. 

Through these experiences, I developed the strategic, planning and leadership skills that you can depend on as we continue to build a healthy and thriving community. I am confident in my ability to lead a council that can bring increased transparency and evidence-based decision-making to its work on behalf of its constituents. 

Should I be chosen as your mayor, my top priorities will include transparent and accountable governance, financial stewardship, environmental stewardship, building a healthy, economically strong, and thriving community, and addressing the very real financial and resource pressures our community will face should the Eastern Ontario Correctional Complex be built.

There are many key actors in the running of municipal government.  Can you tell us how, with your experience, you would work with municipal staff, councillors, and other levels of government?

Your mayor is head of council and the Chief Executive Officer of the municipality. That person’s leadership style is an important consideration. I will value and foster independence of thought. When decisions come before council, I will ensure an open-minded review and analysis of the facts and encourage healthy debate. My natural style is to work collaboratively and consult widely, and to foster those skills in the people around me. Each member of council has an equal vote in making decisions at the table, which means those collaborative conditions are critical in enabling all members to make the best decisions possible.  

Your municipal council is the governance body of the municipality. The Chief Administrative Officer and other senior staff are responsible for the operations and implementing council decisions. With my background in management and human resources, I am well versed in the role governance bodies can play in creating a healthy workplace culture, an ingredient which is critical to developing a high-performing organization. Both talking the talk, and walking the walk, are the first order of business. 

Your mayor also represents the municipality on the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Council, which includes the local municipalities within its jurisdiction, and engages with representatives of provincial and federal levels of government, as circumstances require. I have experience and expertise in working with and navigating across multiple stakeholders, advocating, and negotiating, and will be comfortable at the tables where those conversations need to take place.

How would you go about establishing a more inclusive community of tolerance for all, regardless of differences of belief, identity, or opinion?

I will passionately work toward building a healthy and inclusive North Grenville. Our community is becoming increasingly diverse, and I believe the municipal government should be seen as a leader in our community in the areas of diversity and inclusion. We need to set the bar high in ensuring that our clients experience equitable and respectful service and that our staff can thrive in a workplace environment that is healthy and inclusive.  

Given that many communities are experiencing growing inequities in access to services and resources, municipal governments are increasingly stepping up to meet the challenge. As your mayor, I will proudly commit to providing leadership, along with my council colleagues, in this important challenge. It is important that those experiencing social inequities – for example, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, seniors, newcomers, LGBTQ2S+ communities, and racialized and Indigenous people – see their municipal council as recognizing the challenges they face, while we seek to improve their access to services and engagement in our community. I will fully support the development of a municipal policy focused on diversity and inclusion. The issue, however, requires a broader scope. Utilizing an equity and inclusion lens when reviewing and developing policies and practices, and when planning services, programs and events is an important approach, as is engaging and consulting with those residents and communities facing barriers and, in some cases, discrimination. 

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