Retiring mayors in 2 Saskatchewan cities look back on achievements

·3 min read

The mayors of two small Saskatchewan cities are retiring and will have their positions filled in the upcoming municipal elections.

After 20 years in civic politics, Cheryl Spence will retire after serving as the mayor of Warman for the last 14 years.

Elected to town council in 2000, Spence said before she started her career in civic politics she had already been involved in the community of Warman for a number of years.

"Warman looked very different 20 years ago. However, I just thought of it as another way to serve my community," Spence said.

When it came time to decide to run for mayor, Spence says she had a lot of support in the community.

"I think I was just ready to do it," Spence said. "[They] were really trying to get me to run for that position so I did and I was very successful."

Spence says she is the only woman mayor of a city in all of Saskatchewan, adding it's a challenge for women to take on leadership roles in their communities.

"Many of them are working outside the home but they're also working inside their home as well," Spence said. "You have to weigh just how important that is to you."

Spence says when she decided to run for mayor, the idea of a woman running was "almost foreign".

"I think that I've demonstrated how important it is to have a woman's voice around the table to create that balance," Spence said.

Mayor of Yorkton retiring

Bob Maloney is stepping down after serving on Yorkton city council for 17 years and mayor for eight years.

"I can't say that I've had a lot of negative phone calls or anything like that over the years," Maloney said. "People in the city have treated me very well."

Maloney says that before his jump into politics he had been a part of the chamber of commerce, film festivals in the city and minor sports.

"After asking permission from my wife, I threw my name in the ring," Maloney said.

Maloney says the highlights of his career include the Gallagher Centre renewal project and flood mitigation.

"The city's in really good financial shape as well," he said. That's due to administration and, of course, the diligence of councillors over the years. I've had the good fortune to serve with a lot of really good people.

"A lot of what we get done is about the people we work with," Maloney continued. "You meet so many people and have opportunities to do a lot of things."

Ending is 'bittersweet,' Spence says

Spence says there are many things to be proud of when looking back at the last 20 years of her career.

"We built a really strong community through many partnerships," Spence said. "I'm super proud of the fact that we have looked for these unique partnerships to make our community even better than it already is."

Even though she has been preparing for her retirement for a year, Spence says, it is still "bittersweet."

"I enjoyed this role tremendously," she said. "It's been a rewarding role for me, I've always had such support from my community from my fellow councilmen also from our administration staff. I'm going to miss all that because it's been so positive."

Maloney says his challenge to Yorkton citizens is to get more involved in civic politics.

"I think our turnout was only 30 per cent last time, so we're really working hard with drive-thru voting and some of those things that took place at our advanced polls to get those numbers up and to get people excited about municipal politics."

As for advice for the next mayor, Maloney says it's important to be positive about the community.

"Understand that while there are always challenges. We are so fortunate to live in Saskatchewan and to have a system of government that really works."