An epoch in Harbour Grace
Williams named deputy mayor as new council sworn in
Terry Barnes admitted he rarely dresses up, but for the swearing in of the Harbour Grace town council Oct. 1 he arrived at town hall dressed in a dark grey suit with a tie.
For the man who wears jeans and a T-shirt on a daily basis, he said he was happy to step outside his general attire for an important day — the day he officially became the mayor of Harbour Grace.
Thirty-plus residents packed the council chamber at 7 p.m. to see a brand new council take shape.
It was a milestone for the town of some-3,200 people. Residents witnessed six people who were not on the previous council take their oaths and a new mayor get sworn in after former Mayor Don Coombs lost the seat after 20 years.
Another important part of the meeting was to select a new deputy mayor.
Deputy mayor named
There was some uncertainty in the days leading up to the meeting as to who would take the deputy mayor role.
Rumours spread rapidly throughout the town that Sonia Williams — the newly elected councillor with the highest number of votes — might lose the nod.
Traditionally, the role would go to the elector with the highest number of votes. In William’s case it was 1,232. Her closest counterpart was Gord Stone with 942.
The rumours stemmed from a change campaign that saw five former councillors and the former mayor get ousted during the Sept. 24 election. The only member that returned is Barnes, who spent the four years prior serving as deputy mayor.
Many residents and some of the current councillors campaigned for a “new” Harbour Grace, one led by an entirely different crew of leaders. Williams was not one of them.
“I went out and campaigned for myself,” Williams said after the meeting concluded.
She also admitted there was some doubt in her mind that she may not get nominated but some words of encouragement from another new councillor calmed her concerns.
When Barnes began to request nominations for the position, Coun. Kathy Tetford hopped up and enthusiastically nominated Williams. It was quickly seconded by Coun. Patrick Haire.
After all the rumours and all the concerns Williams faced, the decision was unanimous. She was named deputy mayor of Harbour Grace.
Plans for the future
Stone discussed what he believed would be the best way to approach the town’s issues.
He suggested the council should meet for a privileged meeting and go over the issues and concerns they believe to be most important for the town. He believed this was important to do before they even begin discussing issues in the chamber.
Stone even suggested the council get in touch with ( former) MHA Jerome Kennedy before he resigned to ensure everything that was in the works for Harbour Grace would be finalized. He stepped down the next morning.
With so many new members, the council expects to get situated in the coming weeks. Committee chairs have already been named and some members suggested they were excited to get started on them right away.
Harbour Grace council was officially sworn in last week. The new council is, front — (l-r) Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams, Mayor Terry Barnes and town manager Lester Forward; back — Patrick Haire, Kathy Tetford, Gord Stone, Hayward Blake and Tony McCarthy.
Even though Sonia Williams received the highest number of votes during the Harbour Grace election, she wasn’t sure she would get named Deputy Mayor. She took the post unanimously.