Seaforth's Fisher elected Huron East Deputy-Mayor - Dec. 13, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Seaforth Councillor Bob Fisher is Huron East’s new deputy-mayor, besting two others who put their names forward at the inaugural meeting of Huron East Council on Dec. 4.
Fisher, Tuckersmith Councillor Ray Chartrand and Grey Councillor Alvin McLellan all let their names stand for the municipality’s second-in-command position. This came after Huron East eliminated the at-large deputy-mayor position, reducing the size of council from 12 members to 11 just ahead of October’s election.
It was Fisher who nominated Chartrand for the position. Chartrand then paid the favour back by nominating Fisher. Former Deputy-Mayor Joe Steffler nominated McLellan for the position.
Fisher told his fellow councillors that he has lived in the community for over 40 years. In addition, he has been a councillor for 12 years and spent nearly 40 years in business, all experience he felt would aid in being the deputy-mayor.
Fisher also listed a number of projects he’d like to see undertaken or continued both in Huron East and in Huron County.
In Huron East, Fisher said he wanted to see the municipality’s community centres better utilized and to promote a harmonious relationship between residents of all Huron East’s wards.
At the county level, Fisher said he wanted to see a greater focus on tourism, saying that Huron County could easily be the Prince Edward County of southwestern Ontario. He also said that while the county’s accessibility advisory committee has done a lot of great work, there is still more to be done.
Fisher also said that, as someone who is legally blind, he also hoped that being named deputy-mayor would inspire others with disabilities saying that if they “get [their] ass off the couch and do something” like he has they can accomplish anything.
McLellan said that his decades of experience as a councillor and on numerous boards and committees would make him an ideal choice for the deputy-mayor position.
He said that being self-employed would ensure that he wouldn’t miss any meetings, adding that he hates to miss any council meetings.
He said he had been asked if he was planning on running for the mayor’s position in four years if chosen to be the deputy-mayor and McLellan said he honestly didn’t know. He wanted to put his full effort and attention into the deputy-mayor position and give it the respect it deserves. In four years’ time, he said, he would seek to answer the mayoral question.
Chartrand declared that he plans on running for mayor in 2022 and wanted to be deputy-mayor as a stepping stone to the municipality’s top position. He said he felt it was important that the mayor have Huron County Council experience before stepping into the role.
Not only would being elected deputy-mayor give him four more years of municipal experience in a slightly elevated role, but it would also give him that Huron County Council experience he would need to launch his mayoral bid in four years.
Chartrand said he would bring progressive thinking to the position and do his best to serve the community if elected.
The deputy-mayor selection required two votes, with a simple majority of council needed to secure the position.
In the first vote, McLellan received five votes from Mayor Bernie MacLellan and Councillors Dianne Diehl, Larry McGrath and Steffler, in addition to his own vote.
Councillors John Lowe, Gloria Wilbee and Brenda Dalton voted for Fisher, as well as Fisher himself, while Zoey Onn joined Chartrand in voting for himself.
Chartrand was then eliminated from the vote and Onn and Chartrand both voted for Fisher, with all other councillors voting as they did in the first vote, leading to a 6-5 victory for Fisher over McLellan.
Fisher thanked council for its support and confidence in him and said he was eagerly anticipating the next four years.