With the Oct. 24 municipal election fast approaching, Sept. is the last month for regular council meetings.
While there are still committee meetings to be held, many councillors who aren’t running for re-election will be saying their goodbyes to their fellow council members and town staffers. One of those saying goodbye is Gravenhurst Mayor Paul Kelly.
He announced in April he would not be running for re-election.
Kelly was elected in 2018 and served one term as Gravenhurst’s mayor. He, along with Ward 3 councillors Steven Klinck, and Ward 5 councillor Graeme Murray will not be running for re-election.
At the town’s Sept. 20 meeting, he spent the last 10 minutes thanking councillors, staff members, and members of the community for allowing him the “honour” of being mayor for the past four years.
“Thank you for all of the reports you’ve done throughout the last four years,” Kelly said to town staff that joined the council meeting virtually. “I know some of them have not been easy to put together. I know they require a lot of work, but you’ve been a major, major part of what’s taken place in the last four years.”
He specifically pointed out Kayla Thibeault, Director of Legislative Services, and Scott Lucas, Chief Administrative Officer, for the advice they’ve given him and council. “Sometimes I don’t like it, but usually I know it’s good advice,” he said, adding he appreciated the pair working to keep council “on the straight and narrow.”
In the middle of his thank yous, Kelly asked all the staff members on the virtual meeting to turn their cameras on so council could give them a round of applause. “I want to say thank you to all of you for the service you’ve provided to your residents, to this community,” Kelly said.
The community also got a shoutout from the outgoing mayor. Kelly said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the only way to be part of a council meeting was to show up to the town’s council chambers in person. Now, all meetings are broadcast online which he says he’s glad for because it allows more people to tune in.
Kelly also wished luck to everyone running in the upcoming election. “Anyone that thinks it’s an easy job is mistaken,” he said.
“There are lots of people that have an opinion on council, but haven’t put their name forward,” he added.
Kelly fought back tears when thanking his wife Sue. “I don’t think anyone can do this without a good partner to support you,” he said.
“Thank you to the community for allowing me to be mayor,” Kelly finished. “It has been an honour.”
Current councillors Terry Pilger and Heidi Lorenz are competing to be the next mayor of Gravenhurst along with Marc Mantha.