The municipal election votes have been counted in communities across Durham Region. The winning individuals are candidates no more, they've become councillor-elect, mayor-elect, trustee-elect.
Now the real work begins, work that will take Durham's municipalities into the next four years of municipal governance. There will be bylaws to research and vote on, developments to approve or deny, roads to maintain and schools to repair. The expectations are high and the work even harder. The following are the characteristics that municipal councils must exhibit over the next four years if they are to be functional, responsive and efficiently representative of the people who elected them:
Mutual respect: Debate can become polarized in government. Contrary views seen as unworthy of consideration. The best solutions are borne of competing views that are respectfully embraced, respectfully debated and respectfully concluded. There is no losing side if the debate is sincere, respectful and dutifully considered.
Compromise: Related to demonstrating mutual respect for supporters and opponents, the art of compromise has been lost in recent years. Few municipal issues have clearly defined black-and-white borders. Councillors -- and councils -- that give a little on their position in the interests of seeing an issue to conclusion will build trust with the electorate and demonstrate that they not only hear what politicians and taxpayers have to say, but that they listen.
Patience: Everyday citizens who have a sidewalk that needs repaired, or a water bill that requires explanation, or who oppose a development near their home aren't familiar with the rituals and protocols required when appearing before council. We encourage patience and indulgence with those who want to address their municipal representatives but who feel alienated when they are brusquely ruled out of order. A kind and patient approach to delegates both familiar and unfamiliar with council or school board business will make them more accountable and more approachable.
Team Play: Too many politicians at municipal councils around Durham fight and re-fight old battles. A regional councillor might lose a vote of his or her preference at the municipal level -- in a democratic, majority vote -- then argue the same position at length at Regional council, only to lose the vote again. Re-fighting lost political battles might gain a supporter or two, but rarely results in getting the job done. A team approach will create clarity and efficiency in municipal decisions.
Listening: Durham's municipal councils have highly trained and well-paid staff members who provide much of the research and background work that leads to recommendations. Their work is sometimes given short shrift by politicians who have a contrary agenda and it costs untold amounts of taxpayer money for staff work to be ignored. We strongly encourage municipal politicians to listen more closely, work more effectively and consider more deeply the suggestions of staff. Their expertise exists for municipalities to benefit.
The next four years beckons. There's plenty of work to be done. Good luck.
-- Metroland Durham Region Media Group
PICKERING -- The results are in and Pickering council will look a little different when the group starts its new term in December.
After months of buildup, debates, and campaigning, Pickering residents have chosen who they believe will best represent them at Pickering City and Durham Regional council.
Dave Ryan has reclaimed his seat for the third straight term with 10,361 votes. Maurice Brenner ran a close second with 8,661 ballots cast in his favour.
“It feels great,” Mayor Ryan said.
“I thank the people of Pickering because what they did was acknowledge that Pickering can go forward with a positive message.”
Voter turnout was up in the 2010 municipal election, with 32.2 per cent of eligible voters heading to the polls. In the end, 20,560 of the 63,938 eligible voters cast their ballots. That's compared to 28 per cent in 2006 when of 65,406 eligible voters, 18,311 voted in that election.
In the 2003 municipal election, there were 63,015 registered voters and 18,051 cast their votes, meaning 28.65 per cent came out to vote.
Rick Johnson lost his Ward 3 Regional seat to his only challenger, Peter Rodrigues. He attended the Pickering Civic Centre as the results came in and took his loss gracefully.
“It's been a really great ride,” he said. “I'm very proud of my accomplishments.”
He wished Ward 3 constituents and Mr. Rodrigues all the best. He said he's looking forward to living the retired life, and spending more time with his wife and family.
One of the more interesting races of the night was for the seat of Ward 1 City councillor. Kevin Ashe, a former councillor, who lost his seat to Jennifer O'Connell in the 2006 election, was voted in again.
“It's great to be back,” he said.
He congratulated his opponents.
“It was an open seat with no incumbent, so there was a good exchange of ideas, and five quality candidates,” he said.
Coun. O'Connell beat out incumbent councillor Bonnie Littley for the Ward 1 Regional council seat with 4,065 votes. Her challenger received 3,313 votes.
“It feels amazing but also overwhelming right now,” Coun. O'Connell said. “I'm still in shock.”
Councillor Doug Dickerson reclaimed his Ward 2 City Council position, and Councillor David Pickles reclaimed his Ward 3 City seat. Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean went unchallenged, and was acclaimed.
Chris Braney and Paul Crawford were voted in to represent Pickering residents at the Durham District Public School Board.
“I'm very happy to continue the work that we've done in the past four years and I'm looking forward to another term,” Mr. Braney said.
Jim McCafferty, chairman of the Durham District Catholic School Board, has also been re-elected, beating out Gino Sgovio. Sylvie A. Landry is the trustee for the French public school board, and Olga Lambert is the trustee for the French catholic school board.
Election day looms for voters in Pickering to choose the men and women who will lead their municipal government for the next four years. Candidates have formed their positions, debated their points and made the effort to make a difference in the community. Following are the candidates whose enthusiasm, ideas and experience the News Advertiser believes would create the best municipal council to lead Pickering over the next term of office.
Ward 1 Local Councillor:
Ward 2 Local Councillor:
Ward 3 Local Councillor:
Ward 1 Regional Councillor:
Ward 2 Regional Councillor:
Ward 3 Regional Councillor:
Public School Board Trustee:
Catholic School Board Trustee:
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