An epoch in Har­bour Grace

Wil­liams named deputy mayor as new coun­cil sworn in

The Compass - - OPINION -

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.

Pho­tos by Melissa Jenk­ins/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.