I have given fifty years of service to my community and am hoping to serve four more as Deputy Mayor. I guarantee I will be a full-time representative.
While many residents already know me, I would like to re-introduce myself to all residents of Mississippi Mills. My roots in this community run deep as my family emigrated from Ireland in 1833 and settled in Pakenham Township to farm. My father, who served 35 years as Clerk and 25 years as Postmaster in Pakenham, not only taught me the value of hard work but also the importance of giving back to the community through volunteering. In both my professional life as the Corporate Quality Engineering Director in the Canadian division of Lockheed Aircraft for ten years and as the original owner of Levi Home Hardware for a further 28 years, and in my community engagement, I believe my success has been a result of hard work and strong senior management skills.
I started my community involvement in my teens by coaching children in minor league sports. Since then, I have engaged with my community in a multitude of ways. As well as being previously elected to serve as a Municipal Councillor and Mayor of Mississippi Mills, I have also served as the Director on many local boards including the Mississippi River Power Corporation, Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerce, The Mills (ACDC), Almonte Credit Union, Almonte Minor Hockey and Ringette Associations, and the Almonte Baptist Church. I have also served as Chairman of the Business Improvement Association (BIA) and President of the Almonte Civitan Club (30 year member). I am currently serving on the Board of Directors of the North Lanark Regional Museum and the Almonte Civitan Club. As a result of my involvement, I have a broad and knowledgeable understanding of the community’s strengths and areas of need.
As a business owner, I have been a corporate sponsor of numerous local events and institutions for 35 years including the Highland Games, Light Up the Night, Ride for Dad, the Almonte General Hospital, the Rural Expo, the Lanark County Ploughing Match, Puppets Up, and the Valley Players. I have also supported the Alzheimer’s Training Centre, the Almonte Academy of Dance, and Music Works. My experience working with all of these organizations has been very rewarding and I have seen firsthand how such groups and events bring our community together.
I believe that Council’s responsibility is to represent the people, not rule the people. If elected Deputy Mayor, I will be committed to promoting change using my many years of management experience. I consider myself to be very good at building consensus among team members and I have a proven record of getting the job done. I am able to bring out the best in people and I am looking forward to leading by example. I promise to work hard to rebuild harmony in our community by opening up the process of governing to all and engaging with people from all sides of the political spectrum. I will re-establish good relations with the Lanark County Council and neighbouring municipalities by working cooperatively with them for the benefit of our municipal goals.
My priorities for the upcoming term include:
- Initiating a review of the current Administrative Operations.
- Lobbying to have an open question period for the public at all council meetings.
- Ensure rural wards share in economic development.
- Address the serious shortage of affordable rental housing in the municipality.
- Put the new Official Community Plan on hold until the new Council has an opportunity to review it with reference to more recent statistics as it is currently based on out-of-date information.
- Review and revise rural severance policy which currently restricts re-severance of properties created in 1973 or later.
- Promote the position that the expansion and creation of new settlement areas should have well defined criteria but should not be considered illegal as with the current official plan.
- Review and reduce the 50% increase in development charges recently established (2018) so as to better reflect actual future growth and costs likely to be incurred.
- Demand better oversight and cost control systems be implemented by municipality. (i.e. the final cost of the renovations to the Pakenham Branch Library resulting in a 100% overrun to the bid price initially agreed upon)
- Have phones answered by a real person, not a computer.
- Make the Municipal Offices more accessible to the public (i.e. unlock the doors).