Grey County Council held its final meeting of the 2015-2018 term on Thursday November 22 and said goodbye to 10 outgoing councillors. Each councillor was presented with a special Grey County pin to commemorate their years of service with the county.
Bronze pin recipients included John Bell (8 years), Anna-Marie Fosbrooke (4 years), Stewart Halliday (4 years) and John McKean (4 years). Silver pins were given to Gail Ardiel (11 years), Alan Barfoot (14), Kevin Eccles (18 years), Harley Greenfield (11 years), Bob Pringle (19 years) and Arlene Wright (12 years). Councillor Norm Jack was presented with a bronze pin (8 years) earlier this year following his retirement.
At the end of the council meeting, Warden Stewart Halliday gave his closing address to council. It can be found below.
Warden’s Closing Address:
Being elected as your 2018 Grey County Warden has been very special to me. Carrying on the County traditions established since 1852 has been an honour and a privilege. I want to thank the Wardens that have gone before me. Their dedication inspired me to continue moving forward with a vision, strategic direction and attainable objectives.
When I retired in 2000 from my very exciting and rewarding 38-year career in the fashion industry I was uncertain how I would continue finding a special purpose in my life.
Getting involved with my community, starting a small tourist-oriented business next to Eugenia Falls with my wife Patricia and getting involved in Municipal politics has certainly provided me with fulfillment and a special purpose for my life. The electorate have spoken and I will now refocus my energies as the newly elected President of the Grey Highlands Chamber of Commerce.
2018 has been a good year for Grey County. We have settled into our new home and this was achieved on budget and on time. Many thanks go out to our Building Committee, staff and contractor who were able to overcome challenges and work together to build the terrific space we are in today.
When I was elected as Warden I promised to serve our County and its citizens with dedication, humility and integrity. I certainly feel this objective has been met.
The role of the Warden as defined in the Municipal Act is ambiguous. It does state that the one of the roles is to provide leadership. It doesn’t say how to do this and therefore is open to interpretation. Chairing Council meetings and acting as a goodwill ambassador are also a part of the job.
I started this term by meeting individually with each member of Council seeking input and advice. Our CAO Kim Wingrove and I also visited each lower tier Council (except I missed Owen Sound as I was ill) to inform these Council members about the services provided by the County. Each Municipal presentation was customized by our CAO. I believe this was an effective process to encourage continued collaboration between the County and our lower tier members.
As your Warden I had the pleasure of attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Halifax, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative in Ajax and several meetings of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus. At the AMO conference in Ottawa I was pleased to lead three delegations to the newly elected Provincial Government.
As Warden I also attended Senior Management Team meetings and provided input. As well I sat on the following Boards: Grey Bruce Public Health, Long-Term Care Management Committee, Economic Development Committee, The CAO Performance Evaluation Committee and the Town of The Blue Mountains Task Force.
Acting as a goodwill ambassador at many local functions was an important and enjoyable part of the job. Staying at the function after my speech was always appreciated by the organizers.
The County is blessed to have a hard working, resilient, intelligent, forward-thinking Chief Administrative Officer. It has been a pleasure to work with Kim Wingrove as she has strived to improve our organization and the services we provide. Her initiatives, with Council approval of course, have followed the three pillars of our strategic plan – growing the economy, supporting healthy and connected communities and providing excellence in governance and service.
We should be very proud of what has been accomplished this year. The list is long but a few highlights are the completion of this beautiful and functional new building, finalizing the official plan, acquiring the former Sydenham School site for the future development of a Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Community Hub, hiring new and competent staff to round out our ability to provide excellence in service, and addressing the changing requirements for long-term care by hiring Sienna Living to provide management services to our three long-term care facilities. It feels good to say the newly elected Council can start their new jobs with an organization that is future ready.
To the new Council I have one recommendation to enhance governance and give you more opportunities to share input. Consider establishing four distinct committee chairs to assist with Committee of the Whole meeting and support the Warden in a leadership role. I also recommend considering changing the term of warden to two years. This would provide more Grey County input into the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Initiative and the Western Ontario Wardens` Caucus.
I now want take this opportunity to thank our very professional staff for their help this year and a special thank you to Penny Colton our very capable and understanding Executive Assistant. She manages her role with grace and diplomacy.
Also I want to thank this Council for their input and guidance. Together we have made Grey County a better place to live, work and play.
The very best to my fellow Councillors, as some retire with honour, some seek new opportunities and others return to this Chamber to provide the leadership and mentoring for a new team of Councillors.
Again THANK YOU. It has been a very special year for me.
Grey County Warden 2018.