Mayor Doug Struthers addressed the new Council for Merrickville-Wolford following the swearing-in ceremony last week and emphasised his intention to “build a relationship and partnership of trust” between council, staff and the public. The need for council to make good decisions, and have them implemented through giving clear direction to municipal staff through the CAO, Doug Robertson, was at the core of this relationship, he said. But it had to be done with “dignity and decorum”.
Doug spoke about how the new council could fulfill the mandate laid down by the Municipal Act, to provide “responsible and accountable government”. He gave a list of areas in which the new council could do that, both as a council and, in particular, by him as Mayor. The general approach seems to be to get the basics right, establish the proper relations and structures to make the running of municipal governance efficient and effective for all.
There is, of course, a long list of issues facing the new council, at least two dozen, according to Doug. The most urgent of these involves clarifying the financial condition and budgetary requirements for the coming year, and setting up new committees. The Official Plan review is looming, as is the need to decide on the sale of cannabis in the municipality, under the new legislation.
Being a completely new council, there is a need for all members to get up to speed as quickly as possible, and that will require a good working relationship, both within council itself, and with the municipal staff. But, Doug said, “Merrickville-Wolford…a special place, full of amazing people and a strong community. As mayor and council, we look forward to working together over the course of our term in office.”