After winning their seats in October’s municipal election, members of Brock Township council were officially sworn into office during a special meeting Monday (Dec. 3) night at the Sunderland Town Hall.
Led into the hall by piper Ian Robertson and followed by a colour guard of Brock Township air cadets, Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden, Regional Councillor Ted Smith and councillors Mike Jubb, Claire Doble, Walter Schummer, Cria Pettingill and Lynn Campbell were each greeted with a round of applause by the dozens of residents in attendance.
CAO/Clerk Thom Gettinby opened by noting that the session would be the 16th inaugural meeting of council since the Township was formed along with the Region of Durham in 1974.
He cautioned that members of council would face “significant challenges” this term, most notably the provincial review of regional government.
“What that means for the Township and Region remains unclear,” he said.
After offering “sincere congratulations” from area MPP Laurie Scott, Gettinby presented Mayor Bath-Hadden with the ceremonial chain of office.
She is the first female mayor in Brock Township’s history.
“I’m truly honoured to be standing before you as mayor,” she said, noting that Brock council meetings were once held in the Sunderland Town Hall.
Thanking voters for their support, Mayor Bath-Hadden pledged to open the lines of communication with local residents and promised to be their voice at the council table.
“We will be an open book. And we will have open doors…Into the future we move together,” she said.
Since election night, Mayor Bath-Hadden has taken numerous meetings with residents, worked with Durham Tourism to engage a visiting delegation from Germany and discussed local issues with Conservative MP Jamie Schmale and the party’s health critic.
She said she’s anxious to formally start the job.
“I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work on your behalf.”
She thanked her family for their support, noting that her father-in-law – Don Hadden, who served four terms as regional councillor and two terms as mayor – was particularly passionate about her political ambitions before he passed away in 2008 at the age of 72.
Coun. Smith also thanked his family, choking up as he described how much it meant to him.
He said that his granddaughters serve as “the inspiration to leave Brock a better place.”
Interestingly enough, Don Hadden also encouraged Coun. Smith to run for office, though it would be a couple of decades or so before he decided to throw his hat into the ring.
Re-elected to his second term back in October, Coun. Smith thanked all of the candidates that put their names forward, noting that doing so “takes guts.”
While four of the seven members of council reside in Ward 5, Coun. Smith said it’s important for politicians to view the Township as a whole.
“You have to do what’s best for the entire township, not just your ward,” he told his colleagues.
Each of the ward councillors also had an opportunity at the podium to thank their family, friends and supporters.
A first-time member of council, Coun. Jubb said he was excited and honoured to represent the residents of Ward 1.
“We have much work to do…Let’s build on the great foundation we have in Brock.”
Coun. Doble, another council rookie, thanked Ward 2 residents for their “warmth and support” during the campaign.
“We truly do live in one of the best places in all of Canada,” she said.
After serving from 2010 to 2014, Coun. Schummer is back for a second term as the representative for Ward 3.
He noted that members of council must put in the work required to justify the support they’ve received from voters.
“This council has to do all we can to not only keep the trust they’ve placed in us but to build on it,” he said, also noting that politicians don’t just represent those that voted for them – they represent the entire community.
Coun. Pettingill said she was “humbled and thrilled” to have the opportunity to serve on council for the first time after securing the Ward 4 seat in the election.
“There’s an enormous learning curve,” she said, adding that she intends to host regular open house meetings at the community halls in Port Bolster and Wilfrid to connect with residents.
Closing out the remarks, Coun. Campbell said she’s excited to have the opportunity to work for a second term as the representative in Ward 5.
“I’d like to thank everyone for having faith in me to continue to be your voice,” she told residents.
The chairs of each of the Township’s standing committees – finance (Coun. Schummer), planning and economic development (Coun. Smith), parks and recreation (Coun. Jubb), protection services (Coun. Campbell), works and facilities (Coun. Pettingill) and administration and personnel (Coun. Doble) – were also announced.
Members of council will kickoff the meeting schedule with a slate of committee meetings starting at 10 a.m. next Monday, followed by a formal council session.
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