Roger Haley, Mayor of the Township of Front of Yonge, was sworn in as Warden of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville for the term December, 2020 to November, 2022. Warden Haley has been Mayor of Front of Yonge for four terms, including the last two by acclamation. He has been a member of municipal council dating back to 2002.
In his opening address, Mr. Haley said it has been a difficult year for everyone due to the pandemic, and that issues related to COVID-19 will continue well into 2021. He commended area long-term health care workers, paramedics, public works, and social services staff for their continued dedication to the area.
“We have all been doing business in different ways, but what hasn’t changed is our mandate to provide services to the people of Leeds and Grenville, whether that be health care, emergency care, good roads, safe housing, economic development, community, or social programs,” he said. He also noted that communication is key, and municipalities need to work together.
“Sometimes, in our passion for our own communities, the ‘W’ in the word ‘We’ gets tipped on its side and leans toward turning into the word ‘Me.’ When we are here, at Counties Council, we have to remember we are wearing two hats,” he said in supporting all Leeds Grenville communities working together, including the separated municipalities of Brockville, Prescott, and Gananoque.
“As unexpected costs continue to rise and remain a concern, we will have difficult choices to make in terms of spending our dollars wisely. Our residents demand that and rightly so,” Warden Haley said. He noted there are ongoing major projects continuing into his term, including the expansion at Maple View Lodge, Highway 43, improved broadband, affordable housing, and improved response times for paramedics.
Outgoing Warden, Pat Sayeau, Mayor of Edwardsburg Cardinal, welcomed the new Warden and passed the Chain of Office, following social distancing rules.
“I want to thank the staff here at the United Counties for all the assistance they have extended to me during my term of office. I have appreciated their help very much. I also wanted to say to members of Counties Council that it has been a pleasure and an honour to serve as Warden for the past two years, and I’ve appreciated the support that I’ve received throughout that time,” Mr. Sayeau said.
Counties Council representatives joined the inaugural swearing in of the Warden via Zoom, due to COVID-19 restrictions. The number in attendance in the council chambers was held to a minimum. John Doran, Justice of the Peace, administered the Oath of Office. Also present were CAO Andy Brown, County Clerk Lesley Todd, and Deputy Clerk Andrea Bolton.
Kimberley Heath, of Wall Street United Church, delivered the invocation via Zoom. Several special guests also joined virtually, including Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lake MP Michael Barrett, MPP Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, City of Brockville Mayor Jason Baker, and Prescott Mayor Brett Todd.
Warden Haley was first appointed to municipal office for a one-year term due to a vacancy on council in 2002. He was successful in his first election as councillor in 2003. Three years later, in 2006, he was successful in his bid for Mayor. This is his fourth term as Mayor, having been acclaimed the last two terms. He worked as a negotiator for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union for 27 years before retiring in 2015.