By Francis Baker
For the Confederate
Guelph-Eramosa Mayor Chris White has won a second term as Warden of Wellington County Council.
“It’s a very humbling moment to be back up here again,” Warden White said as he took the centre chair in the county council chambers Friday morning after swearing his declaration of office.
He commended county council and staff on being “forward thinking” and said he looked forward to another two years as warden.
“I look forward to continuing the impressive work of county council and working collaboratively with the City of Guelph and the government of Ontario on key issues that County residents are facing,” Warden White said.
In announcing he would seek a second term, Warden White said he had many things to finish - specifically mentioning the new economic development strategic plan presented to council last month among several items.
Warden White has been a member of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association Board (ROMA) since 2004 and was chair for 2007-2008 and 2010-2011. As chair of ROMA, he was also on the executive of the Association of the Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and Chair of the Rural Caucus.
Recently, he helped spearhead the county’s lobby in support of the local horse racing industry, backing the county’s “Restore the Program” video and campaign that aimed to reverse the decision to end revenue sharing between the provincial government and the racing industry through Slots at Racetracks.
“Chris brings broad, provincial level experience to the role of Warden,” said CAO Scott Wilson. “He is a passionate and effective leader. His work at the county, ROMA and AMO is commendable. The county continues to be in very capable hands for 2013-2014.”
County council veteran Gord Tosh (Guelph-Eramosa ward councillor), and newcomers this term Don McKay (Puslinch ward councillor) and Shawn Watters (Centre Wellington ward councillor) put their names forward for the warden’s job.
The election is by secret ballot of county councillors. This year, it was conducted during a closed meeting held before the inaugural meeting Friday morning - as were elections of committee chairs and the work of the “striking committee” that places county councillors on committees.
In earlier years, county councillors would convene in an open meeting, sometimes making speeches to council before the vote, which had councillors go out of the room to mark ballots. Committee chairs were elected in a show of hands at the meeting itself. After a reception, the striking committee would meet in the afternoon to create committees.
This year, the warden and committee chairs were confirmed by council in the inaugural meeting.
There are two changes in committee chairs: Erin Mayor Lou Maieron takes over as chair of planning and land division, and Wellington North Mayor Ray Tout becomes county council’s representative on the police services board.
Mapleton Mayor John Green continues as administration, finance and personnel chair, Minto Mayor George Bridge continues as economic development chair, Minto ward councillor Mark MacKenzie continues as information, heritage and services chair, Centre Wellington Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj continues to head the roads committee, Gord Tosh continues as social services chair, and Don McKay continues to head solid waste.