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United Counties will soon hold vote for warden

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A new warden for the council of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville will be selected this fall. Changes to the voting procedures were introduced at the council's last meeting on Thursday, October 22.

"Council has passed a motion adjusting how council can vote for a new warden for 2021/2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes recently made to council's procedural bylaw." says Deanna Clark, Economic Development Officer for the United Counties.

"The council elects a warden every two years," reads Clark's report from the October meeting. "The election is conducted through secret ballot as allowed by the Municipal Act. The current term for the position of Warden ends when a new warden is elected at the December 9, 2020 inaugural session."

The current warden is Pat Sayeau, who is Mayor of Edwardsburgh Cardinal Township. At the October meeting, he thanked all municipal employees in Leeds and Grenville for keeping communities in the counties "safe and operational".

"Your dedication to your jobs is very much appreciated," Sayeau said. "And to all our local elected officials, I thank you for the work you do in leading your municipalities and making them strong and vibrant communities to live in."

Sayeau cannot run for a sequential term as warden but could run again in two years if he should choose. Every other term the mantle of warden alternates between Leeds County and Grenville County. This year a representative will be chosen from the Leeds side.

The changes for this year's election process will include a hybrid solution where members can vote electronically or in person. The current rules to this point did not consider how a member could do that, but after consultation with the health unit and other counties, staff have outlined a proposed solution to ensure all members have the capacity to vote for the position of Warden.

"The current process will be put aside and members wishing to put their name forward for the position of Warden will self-nominate themselves at the Tuesday, November 3 meeting of the Committee of the Whole and be given the opportunity to speak regarding their nomination," says Clark. If only one member puts their name forward, the nominations will be considered closed and the new warden will be sworn in on Wednesday, December 9.

"If more than one member puts their name forward, staff have developed a voting process which will enable members to vote for the new warden even if they are not able to participate in person," she adds in her report.

In addition to the upcoming election, United Counties Council also discussed a report which investigated alternate paramedic station locations in the south/central coverage area.

Following an extensive discussion, the council have directed staff to bring back more information addressing the inequities in ambulance/paramedic response time in Leeds and Grenville. That report will provide options including, but not limited to, paramedic deployment models. They are asking for the report to made available by December.

The south/central coverage area is currently served by the existing Brockville South (61 Perth Street) and Brockville North (360 Laurier Boulevard) stations. Both co-locate with the Brockville Fire Department.

Leeds and Grenville Paramedic Services administration and support is situated in the United Counties administration building at 25 Central Avenue in mid-town Brockville. There is no room for service growth at that location.

There are four other paramedic stations located throughout the United Counties in Johnstown, Kemptville, Elgin and Gananoque. The Leeds Grenville Paramedic Service employs 146 staff which includes 12 management/administrative positions and 134 full and part-time paramedics. The fleet consists of 17 ambulances, three Emergency Response Units, two administrative vehicles and an Emergency Support Unit.

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