Rick Maloney will serve as mayor of Bracebridge until the Oct. 24 municipal election.
He has been serving as mayor, albeit through his role as deputy mayor, since May when the provincial election campaign began. Then-Mayor Graydon Smith was running, and was successful, in his campaign to become MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka and, as a result, had to resign from his position as mayor.
Now, though, with the unanimous backing of his council colleagues, he is officially Bracebridge’s mayor. It was an emotional morning for Maloney who was joined by his mother and other members of his family, including his daughter virtually from Toronto, current and former colleagues at the District of Muskoka, and some of his former colleagues from the Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, where he worked for three decades.
Maloney was emotional and had to fight back tears while taking his oath of office and during his subsequent speech to council.
“We’re all at this table because we believe in this community and the future of this community,” Maloney said. “But at the same time, we recognize that this community has its challenges and struggles.”
While he will only serve as mayor for a few months prior to the election, he says he looks forward to working with political and community leaders. Maloney said he hopes to have “frank discussions” with community members on what he and council can do to help people who are struggling.
“It’s a privilege to be on council, let alone be in a leadership position for this community,” he said.
Lori McDonald, Bracebridge’s Director of Corporate Services and Clerk, explains the work isn’t done yet: a new deputy mayor needs to be chosen as does a new district councillor. At the town’s General Committee meeting on July 12, Coun. Steven Clement was chosen as the next deputy mayor, however, that decision needs to be ratified at the town’s next council meeting.
At that meeting, they will also formally vacant the district councillor seat, previously held by Smith and temporarily occupied by Coun. Mark Quemby. Council will need to get direction from staff on how to fill the vacancy. Quemby, while able to attend meetings and ask questions, doesn’t have the same power as a permanent district councillor does. “I think council is eager to move things forward so that they can make sure their representation at district council is sufficient,” McDonald says.