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Council Selects Ms. Debbie Wilson to fill Vacancy left by Outgoing Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman

February 22, 2022

NORTH GRENVILLE, ON – At tonight’s meeting, Mayor Peckford announced that Council has selected Ms. Debbie Wilson to fill the upcoming Council vacancy. This development is a result of the announcement on February 7th that Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman was re-locating outside of the community on February 24th and would need to resign his Council position as a result.

“Ms. Wilson is a well-recognized community leader and long-standing resident of North Grenville,” said Mayor Peckford. “She has had a strong presence over several decades in the community and has taken on various leadership roles, both municipal and otherwise. We have no doubt that she will hit the ground running,” said Mayor Peckford. 

“We wish to thank all those who sought to be considered for the council vacancy. Council interviewed a pool of very qualified candidates who are passionate about North Grenville,” added outgoing Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman.  

“We are blessed with an abundance of talent in our community and the caliber of individuals who stepped forward was truly excellent,” Mayor Peckford noted. “We sincerely appreciate their strong interest in making North Grenville an even better place. It made for a difficult decision.”

Co-owner of Grahame’s Bakery, Ms. Debbie Wilson was born and raised in Kemptville and has a considerable record of public service as former Chair of the Old Town Kemptville BIA, Vice Chair of the Kemptville District Community Association, a founding member of the Sports Hall of Fame, among many other initiatives. 

Ms. Wilson also currently serves as Chair of North Grenville’s Community and Economic Development Municipal Advisory Committee and is the provincial appointee to the North Grenville Police Services Board.

In 2019, Ms. Wilson was the recipient of the 2019 Bill Thake Award for Economic Development Leadership in Leeds, Grenville, Thousand Islands.

“I am honoured to have been selected to join North Grenville’s Council and serve the community I love. I look forward to working with Mayor Peckford, Councillors Barclay, O’Sullivan and Strackerjan to continue building on our shared vision for North Grenville.” said Ms. Wilson.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Deputy Mayor McManaman, and know I have big shoes to fill, but I am up for the challenge,” added Ms. Wilson.

Ms. Wilson will be sworn in before March 1st and will serve the duration of this term. Owing to her new role, she will step down as the provincial appointee to the Police Services Board, and as Chair of the Community and Economic Development Municipal Advisory Committee – but expects to remain on the Committee.

News about other committee assignments and the Deputy Mayor position will be forthcoming once Ms. Wilson has been sworn in. Mr. McManaman is also the outgoing Chair of the iconic Sweetheart Brunch in North Grenville which has raised just under $400,000 for the Knight’s of Columbus Food Bank and other local charities. 

Background

The Municipal Act, 2001 directs Council to replace a vacated seat within 60 days of the day the seat is declared vacant, either through a by-election or an appointment.

According to North Grenville’s By-Law 51-16 section 2.1 adopted in 2016 by the previous Council, “If a vacancy on Council for Councillor occurs more than six months after the Municipal election, Council shall fill the vacancy by appointing a person”. The Bylaw outlines a specific process for fulfilling the appointment including an open call for candidates and conducting interviews in public.

Council used an application and appointment process to fill the seat. The application process opened on February 8, 2022, and closed at 12pm noon on February 17th.  Nine members of the public applied for the position and were invited to virtual interviews that took place on Friday, February 18, 2022. Applicants were asked to answer three questions and had fifteen (15) minutes to present their answers with fifteen (15) minutes of follow-up questions by Council.

The list of candidates who were interviewed were:

John Palmer
Ron Sorrell
Mitch Bloom
Joselyn Morley
Andre Rancourt
Beth Searle
Deb Wilson
Diana Fisher
Don Stephenson

The next municipal election is on October 24, 2022, with the four-year term starting on November 15, 2022.

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