In the end, only two county councillors announced on Nov. 27 they will seek the warden’s post on Dec. 5.
County council will hold a special meeting to elect its warden and also the chairmen of its committees for the coming year.
They will be seeking a post that outgoing Warden John Green admitted at the last meeting he hates leaving.
Green, now the longest serving member of county council, also said, “After watching [county council] since 1983, it should be a four-year term.”
But, he added, he recognized such a thing is “a hard sell.”
He also said that if the job cannot be a four-year term, it should be at least two years long. He served as warden in 1989, and has held the post now for two years. Only Green and former Warden Brad Whitcombe have held the top county job for three terms.
But while some county council traditions have started to fade, others are starting.
Broomhead and Ross-Zuj each gave campaign style speeches citing their credentials for the warden’s job. Back when there were really no consecutive or repeat terms, people simply announced what post they were seeking. The campaigning went on quietly behind the scenes.
But, with one week to the elections, campaigning has almost become necessary.
Councillors still have their names drawn from hats when it comes to the order of announcements, and Broomhead was the first to declare for warden.
After thanking Green for his work, Broomhead cited his 20 continuous years in municipal politics, five of them as Mayor of Wellington North Township. He pointed out that he has been on most of the county committees, and spent the last three years as chairman of the administration, finance, and personnel committee.
He added he has a high success rate when it comes to applying for government grants and noted that all the county budgets come through his committee.
Broomhead said in the past year he has been very busy, and cited $40-million worth of projects that he has overseen. Five will be done by the end of the year, and a sixth in the coming year.
He said he has the “time and the energy” to be warden and will “work to institute necessary changes.”
Ross-Zuj thanked Green for his work and for bringing new councillors and staff together and getting everyone working together.
She said the county has been “hit with changes in the last two years.” She said studies have now provided all the data councillors need, and “now is the time to come back together, and look at corporate strategies.”
She cited the ailing economy, and noted there are four things the county should be involved with: affordable housing, transportation, public safety, and infrastructure.
“It’s time we connect and move ahead,” she said, concluding, “It’s been an honour to serve with one of the most incredible group of councillors and awesome staff.”
Green, as outgoing warden, spoke last.
He said most people firmly believe in democracy, but, “in every democracy, a little bit of dictatorship goes a long way.”
That means that sometimes the warden must say, “I’m doing this because it is the right thing.”
Green saluted the staff, and noted many of them are long-term employees. He said the county offers the same benefits and pay as other places, but people stay in Wellington because they are in a comfortable work position.
“Nothing is more satisfying, aside from your marriage, than being satisfied with your job,” he said.
Green also looked at the international economy, and noted that if American president-elect Barack Obama decides to bail out companies, Canada and Ontario will have no choice but to go along, too.
He added that right now, as councillors head into 2009, they are unsure of the economy, and will have to proceed with some care.
He pointed out Bob Rae’s NDP provincial government tried to spend its way out of the recession of the 1990s, and it was “the worst thing that could have happened.”
He noted Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been indicating similar tactics, but, “I’m not sure now is the time.”
Green said no matter what county council does “We don’t satisfy everybody. If we do, it’ll be wrong.”
Green said of county council and its employees, “It’s important we continue as a family that wants to do good for the people we serve.”
Green concluded his remarks with a quote attributed to various sources, including Dale Carnegie and William Penn.
“We shall pass this way but once, any good, therefore, that we can do or any kindness that I can show – let me do it now and not defer it – for I shall not pass this way again.”