SDG – For the first time since 2017, there will be an election held to select the next warden of SDG Counties Council.
Incumbent warden Frank Prevost (South Glengarry) and councillor Tony Fraser (North Dundas) put their names forward for next warden’s term at the end of the September 21st meeting.
The county warden position is elected by the 12 members of Counties Council, and serves a 12-month term from December to November.
Prevost was the first to declare his interest, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as part of his reason for seeking a second consecutive term.
“I feel I have been cheated from the experience of being warden as COVID-19 has happened,” Prevost said, citing some of the normal activities of warden that were cancelled due to the pandemic. “It didn’t give me the opportunity of going into each one of the municipalities, join in your affairs and events, so with that I feel I didn’t have the full experience of being the warden for 2020. I am asking for council’s support for the wardenship for 2021.”
“I would like to express my interest in having the position of warden for 2021,” Fraser said.
He sympathized with Prevost’s concerns about not being able to experience all the duties of warden.
“It is unfortunate that the pandemic has caused a lot of issues for all of us, we’ve all faced them,” Fraser said. “I would like to have an opportunity to sit at the head of this council and I look forward to the support from members of this council as I seek the position of warden for 2021.”
Two other members of council said at the meeting that they had planned on seeking the warden’s chair, but were not going to because of Prevost’s candidacy.
“I was planning on expressing interest for 2021,” said councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas). “I feel that is something I would like to do. But your reasons for staying on make a lot of logical sense. I know as warden you want to do a lot more than just run meetings, you missed that opportunity, so I will look forward to the next year.”
Councillor Bryan McGillis (South Stormont) also said he was interested in the warden’s chair, but would hold off because of Prevost seeking a second year.
“We already had discussed it,” McGillis said to Prevost. “I said I would support you because you didn’t have the opportunity to do the things that wardens did in the past. I wish you all the best and I will support you wholeheartedly.”
Traditionally wardens did not serve back-to-back terms, however that changed in 2014 when former councillor Eric Duncan (North Dundas) was elected as warden, and re-elected in 2015. The current term of Counties Council has not seen an election for warden. Councillor Jamie MacDonald was acclaimed as warden at the start of the 2018-22 term, Prevost was acclaimed as warden last year. The last election for warden was in October 2017 when former councillor Evonne Delegarde (South Dundas) ran against former councillor Ian McLeod (South Glengarry) for the 2018 wardenship. The council vote was deadlocked and McLeod won the warden’s chair after his name was drawn from a hat.
“Hopefully the clerk won’t be pulling a name out of the hat,” said director of council services/clerk Helen Thomson.
Council will elect its next warden at its October 19th regular meeting.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader