Dufferin News Municipal Politics

DUFFERIN COUNTY NAMES NEW WARDEN FOR 2021

DUFFERIN COUNTY NAMES NEW WARDEN FOR 2021

Dufferin County has named its new Warden for 2021 at its council meeting held on December 10th. Furthermore, committee chairs were also chosen.

There were two candidates for the position of Warden, each given three minutes to address the rest of council. Darren White, Mayor of Melancthon and the current Warden of Dufferin County, was nominated for another term. This was moved by Mono’s Deputy Mayor John Creelman, and seconded by Shelburne’s Mayor Wade Mills. White has currently served three terms as Dufferin County’s Warden, being acclaimed for the year of 2020.

“I want to thank all of the councillors, staff, and members of the public that are joining us today to listen to the meeting. I appreciate the faith you have shown in me over the past number of years, and I ask that you continue that faith today. This position is about big-picture thinking, change for the better, change for all, change that is equitable for our entire county. It is about what you make it. For sure, it can be a token position or a glorified ribbon-cutter as it were. Or it can be about forward momentum. Getting it, keeping it, and using it to better the lives of those we represent. I certainly choose the latter, and I ask you to choose that as well. I am asking you to entrust me to lead this council, to navigate the biggest challenge that most of us have seen in our lifetime, and I ask that you stay the course as that challenge continues into 2021. Thank you very much.”

Amaranth’s Deputy Mayor, Chris Gerrits, was also nominated for the role of Warden. This was moved by Grand Valley’s Deputy Mayor Philip Rentsch, and seconded by Grand Valley’s Mayor Steve Soloman.

“I’ve worked with a lot of you on various boards and committees, and through that, I think I am up to the job. I have absolutely no problem at all with Warden White’s performance. In fact, in my opinion, he has done an excellent job over the past number of years. I just think I am ready to take on the position, and if I am unsuccessful then I will commit to working with Warden White and everyone going forward as I normally would. If I am successful, then Warden White has set the bar very high for me to match. I just hope you’ll support me in the vote. Thank you.”

Given the pandemic and the electronic format of the meeting, the usual voting process was not able to occur. An anonymous poll was conducted, with councilmembers being moved to ‘special groups’ out of the public view to allow for the confidential vote. According to Dufferin County’s Deputy Clerk Michelle Dunne, the councillors’ microphones and cameras would be disabled while in the special groups. Also, if chat or other Zoom communication features were used, the poll would not display for that member of council.

The electronic election went off without a hitch.

After a close vote of seven to five, Darren White was elected to his fourth term as Warden of Dufferin County for 2021.

Warden White took the oath of office, and was virtually presented the Warden’s pin and gavel by Dufferin County’s Chief Administrative Officer Sonya Pritchard. White then gave his inaugural address.

“Challenge. It certainly was the word of the year, and it looks to be the word for the year to come. Challenge to continue to support our vulnerable sectors, our frontline workers, our seniors, and our local economy. Our council, our staff, and our residents have taken up that challenge. As we watch rising numbers and an upcoming vaccination program it is important to now redouble our effort as our challenge continues. We have a resilient community that has faced loss and restrictions over the last ten months. Take, for instance, local business owners that have adapted their models to continue to serve customers and have been successful in doing so. Challenge often breeds innovation.”

Warden Daren White also named several new businesses in the area such as Limitless, a new home decor store and DIY studio in Shelburne. He went on to describe challenges around the changing community and continuing conversations to offer equity to the residents.

While discussing the challenges of the pandemic, White directed some remarks towards members of the community.

“As a result of likely moving into the red-zone on Monday, an announcement that is likely coming tommorrow, the chatter on social media locally, about leadership, lack of leadership, or over-ruling medical professionals, has reached a fever-pitch. I want to say for myself and the members of this council, I don’t take my medical information from Facebook. I believe in this science behind this. I believe it is what led us here. When I have doubts, I ask questions. I’ll leave you with that.”

Later on in the meeting of Dufferin County Council, the following members of councils were appointed as chairs to Dufferin County committees.

  • Orangeville’s Mayor Sandy Brown was appointed as chair to the Infrastructure & Environmental Services Committee. Nominated by Mono’s John Creelman, seconded by Orangeville Councillor Debbie Sherwood (sitting in for Orangeville Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh).
    • Grand Valley’s Mayor Steve Soloman, current chair for the committee, was nominated by Grand Valley’s Deputy Mayor Philip Rentsch. This was seconded by Amaranth’s Deputy Mayor Gerrits.
    • A weighted-vote occurred resulting in Brown’s appointment.
  • Mono’s Mayor Laura Ryan was reappointed as chair to the Health and Human Services Committee. Nominated by Mayor Janet Horner of Mulmur, and seconded by Shelburne’s Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson.
    • Grand Valley’s Deputy Mayor Philip Rentsch was nominated by Grand Valley’s Mayor Steve Soloman. This was seconded by Amaranth’s Deputy Mayor Gerrits.
    • A weighted-vote occurred resulting in Ryan’s appointment.
  • John Creelman, Deputy Mayor of Mono, was re-appointed as chair to the General Government Services Committee. Nominated by Shelburne’s Mayor Wade Mills, seconded by Orangeville’s Mayor Sandy Brown.
  • Janet Horner, Mayor of Mulmur, was appointed as chair to the newly-formed Community Development and Tourism Committee. Nominated by Warden White, Mayor of Melancthon, and seconded by Orangeville’s Mayor Sandy Brown.

The committees would be formed as followed.

  • Community Development and Tourism Committee – Chaired by Mono’s Mayor Laura Ryan
    • Steve Anderson – Deputy Mayor of Shelburne
    • Sandy Brown – Mayor of Orangeville
    • Bob Currie – Mayor of Amaranth
    • Janet Horner – Mayor of Mulmur
    • Darren White – Mayor of Melancthon, Warden of Dufferin County
  • General Government Services Committee – Chaired by Mono’s Deputy Mayor John Creelman
    • Guy Guardhouse – Mayor of East Garafraxa
    • Wade Mills – Mayor of Shelburne
    • Chris Gerrits – Deputy Mayor of Amaranth
    • Andy Macintosh – Deputy Mayor of Orangeville
    • Philip Rentsch – Deputy Mayor of Grand Valley
    • Steve Soloman – Mayor of Grand Valley
    • Darren White – Mayor of Melancthon, Warden of Dufferin County
  • Infrastructure and Environmental Services Committee – Chaired by Orangeville’s Mayor Sandy Brown
    • John Creelman – Deputy Mayor of Mono
    • Bob Currie – Mayor of Amaranth
    • Earl Hawkins – Deputy Mayor of Mulmur
    • Andy Macintosh – Deputy Mayor of Orangeville
    • Wade Mills – Mayor of Shelburne
    • Steve Soloman – Mayor of Grand Valley
    • Darren White – Mayor of Melancthon, Warden of Dufferin County
  • Health and Human Services Committee – Chaired by Mulmur’s Mayor Janet Horner
    • Steve Anderson – Deputy Mayor of Shelburne
    • Chris Gerrits – Deputy Mayor of Amaranth
    • Earl Hawkins – Deputy Mayor of Mulmur
    • Philip Rentsch – Deputy Mayor of Grand Valley
    • Laura Ryan – Mayor of Mono
    • Darren White – Mayor of Melancthon, Warden of Dufferin County

Before giving his inaugural address, Warden White commended Gerrits for taking part in the election process.

“Congratulations to Chris for putting his name forward, democracy in action is always a great thing.”

He also made another remark, after thanking council for entrusting him with another year.

“I promise you in 2022, I’ll go sit in a corner and mind my own business somewhere.”


Correction: Dufferin News had previously named Chris Gerrits as a member of the Community Development and Tourism Committee. We apologize for the error.


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