Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Farewell to New Maryland Council (The Mooning)

This is another long one so pour a coffee and get comfortable before reading it.
I know several people that are going to be disappointed when they read this that it is not quite what they expected but I would like to point out that I am considering an attempt for a Council position in the future.
Of course that is a long way off and many things can change by then but I don't want to burn bridges regardless.

Last night was my last formal New Maryland Council meeting as a Councillor (for now anyway). Prior to the meeting I was under the impression that I would be required to be at the June Council in Committee meeting so I figured that I still had two meetings to go.
However, during the meeting last night Council decided that the swearing-in ceremony would take place prior to the June CIC so last night was officially my last meeting. That sounded just perfect to me.
It's funny that I had been looking to this moment so much but when it was finally upon me I started to feel a little sad.
When I think back over the four years of my term there were so many events and emotions that had taken place. I may not have enjoyed them all but they certainly have been memorable.
Try thinking back to something that you did four years ago and see how long ago it feels like.
Even when I was away somewhere on vacation or otherwise it was often somewhere in my head that I was a Councillor with work to do.
You may recall that in 2008 as I was sitting at my mother's bedside in Ontario just prior to her passing I used some of this time to send a detailed letter to Council from my Blackberry.
It was a full-time job really. If people wanted to reach me they would send emails to me or call me at home. There was no such thing as office hours.

But, as trying and frustrating as being a Councillor may be at times there will always be something inside me that loved the experience.
I'm thinking that part of it is the satisfaction that what we did or tried to do was in some way making our Village a better place.

Before I go further I want to mention that the election results from Monday night were exactly what I was hoping for.
The Councillors that have served with me, Scott Sparks, Gisele McCaie-Burke, and Paul LeBlanc were all re-elected. I am very pleased with this. Our Mayor Frank Dunn had decided not to seek another term as Mayor and ran for a Council seat instead. He was successful. I am pleased with this as well.
It was mentioned to me that the election results were a good indicator that the voters were satisfied with Council and the job that we were doing.
The exception to this are the residents of Baker Brook Court who will likely never be satisfied at anything no matter how much is given to them on a platter.
I was saddened to hear that a couple of the incumbent Council candidates placed campaign signs on Village property near the entrance to Baker Brook Court only to have these signs disappear within a few hours.
If the person(s) responsible for this ever happen to stumble onto this blog I want to point out that no matter how much you loathe somebody, removing a campaign sign from public property is against the law.
Smarten up and grow up. Get over it.

The Deputy Mayor Judy Wilson-Shee ran for Mayor and was acclaimed as no-one ran against her.

A chap by the name of Peter Wiggins was elected and will likely be sitting in my old seat in Council chambers.
Peter has been on the Recreation Committee with me for a while now and has prior municipal Council experience from where he used to live. He's a smart, likable guy and I know he'll do well. I was rooting for him in the election.

None of the candidates that I referred to in my last blog post were successful but I'm sure that they gained a fair amount of insight during their campaigning.

All righty. Back to last night.

Usually when I'm going to a meeting I have dressed fairly casual. Usually blue jeans and a fairly nice shirt.
Scott always wears a suit but I think that's usually because he doesn't have much time between his day job and the Council meetings so he doesn't get changed.
Paul usually wears blue jeans which was a perfect idea to me so I usually did as well.

While I was getting dressed for last night I decided to wear a dress shirt with a tie and beige pants with dress shoes. I figured that I should look nice for the last big meeting.

Part of this was also that I was hoping that some media may be present when I read my finale that I had planned. I should look nice for that, shouldn't I?

Sadly, the media never did show up. We've sort of gotten used to that in New Maryland. It's nice when someone does show up but it's usually because there is a hot topic on the agenda and there will probably be someone there who is ticked off about it.
No matter.

I guess I should have spotted it prior to the meeting but there was something on the agenda right near the end of the meeting. It was a presentation by Mayor Dunn and the CAO Cynthia Geldart.
This didn't initially get my attention. From what I could recall when someone had been leaving a Council position there was something special for them but I thought that it took place later than this after they had left the spot.

It turned out that the special presentation did involve me and during the meeting my wife and two handsome lads came into the Public Gallery to be there for it. Yes, I was surprised. :)

What I didn't realize was that they were in the hallway for a while and heard me when I gave my final Committee report and farewell.

Now, about that report and my farewell.

For regular sessions of Council each Councillor provides an update and report of what transpired at the committee meeting that they chaired. If there were any motions coming from a committee they were read following the committee report being read and moved, seconded and approved by a majority vote. (This sounds like much hoohaw but it's really a very smooth process).

Here's something really cool. Usually the seconder of a motion will be any member of Council except the person who made the motion. It's really just who happens to say it first.
Last night before the meeting I suggested to the others that I will second every single motion of the night except for my report which I was moving. As the meeting went on my family and the others in the public gallery caught on to what was going on and it was pretty amusing.
I'm looking forward to seeing the final minutes of the meeting with my name seconding everything.

I was somewhat nervous as my turn got closer. This was my big one. The last one is the one people usually remember right? I think much of being nervous was worrying that I wouldn't choke up while reading. I had heard a clip on the radio of my pal Jordan Graham doing his farewell at Fredericton Council the night before. He really had a hard time getting through it.

When it came my turn I read my summary of the Transportation meeting of the week before.

Then I read this:

"I’d just like to say a couple of words as this is my last formal session as a New Maryland Councillor.
First, I salute the Village staff for all of their hard work and for putting up with me for the last 4 years. Especially Cynthia for being my brain when my own wasn’t keeping up with the task at times.
I also thank my fellow committee members for caring enough about the Village to dedicate their personal time.
As I have mentioned in the past, I would like to continue as a member of committees as a public member.
To my fellow Councillors and Mayor Dunn, the last 4 years have been much more educational than I expected them to be. Thank you all for being such a great team and making the lessons go smoothly.
Congratulations to you all for being re-elected, to our incoming mayor Judy Wilson-Shee and to Peter Wiggins for his victory.
I wish you all nothing but the best of luck for the next 4 years.
Also, congratulations to the other candidates for all of their hard work and efforts.
I have learned that even though our group has a diverse background, we all have the best interests of New Maryland at heart which is all that matters."

This next part was fun. Here comes the moon.:

"I am now going to do something that several of my Twitter followers and Facebook friends have told me to do. I am mooning you all."

And held this up.

Everyone got a good chuckle out of that.
Then I continued. This is where I choked up but I got through.

"The reason for this choice is that the moon is like us.
For years it was struck by objects which left all of these craters and marks. This was due to no fault of its own except that it was where it was at the time.
As members of Council, over the years we have also taken numerous hits. Some justified. Some unjustified. But we took them for the simple reason that this is where we are at this time.
Our craters aren’t visible like those on the moon but some impacts do leave marks on us.
However, just like the moon, we have continued in our orbits and stayed on the paths that we have chosen to be on. And for that I am proud to have been a part of this group.
And with that I move acceptance of my final report."

And that was that. It felt good to be done but sad at the same time.

When the reports were finished Mayor Dunn stood up to the podium and read this. I could see that Cheryl was a little teary and I was feeling it too:

"As many of you know, Councillor Tim Scammell decided not to re-offer in the recent municipal election, and therefore tonight will be Tim's last official Council meeting as an elected official.

On behalf of my collegues and Village staff, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tim for his hard work and dedication while serving as Councillor for the past four years.

Tim was elected to Council in 2008 and during his term has served as Chairperson of the Water & Wastewater Committee and the Transportation Committee, as well as Vice-Chair of the Recreation Committee, and a member of the Community Council of Policing Committee. He was an active participant in our development strategy, strategic planning, the Sidewalk Installation Plan, and the establishment of the Trails and Bikeways Master Plan currently under review. Tim has worked hard on behalf of our residents and the Village benefited from his experience and expertise. He always represented the Village with professionalism and enthusiasm. Tim also brought a great sense of humor to our meetings which helped provide a positive and creative work environment.

We are definitely going to miss having Tim around the Council table. However, we understand the dedication to his family. His family is extremely busy right now with his twin sons being involved in various activities and groups. Due to the time commitment required of a council member, Tim has missed a number of important events with his family over the past few years, and made the decision to ensure thay are his first priority.

Tim has graciously offered to serve on our various committees as a resident, and we look forward to continuing to work with him and benefit from his knowledge and skills.

It gives me great pleasure to present a small token of our thanks and gratitude to Councillor Tim Scammell."

Mayor Dunn then presented me with a gift box from Aitken's Pewter containing this awesome desk clock.

The inscription says "Tim Scammell, Councillor, Village of New Maryland, 2008-2012".
What a wonderful gesture.

Mayor Dunn was also presented with a gift for his years of service as the Mayor.

It was a great evening.
I'm going to miss those folks.
Four years may creep up quickly and it will again be time to decide what I'd like to do and what would be best for my family.

What am I going to do until then with all of my spare time?

Not to worry. I'll be around.

Stay well,


Wanderer said...

Tim, I have no doubt you struggled with your emotions during not only your final meeting as councilor, but in the weeks leading up to that meeting. I feel those emotions as I read this account. Your decision to be a part of the lives of the boys during their teen years, the most awkward time of their lives (through no fault of their own) will make SUCH a difference in the men they will become. I have witnessed, albeit briefly, your interaction with the lads, and I know yours is a tight family. The next four years will ensure that family stays tight for the rest of your lives. When you return to council, as I have no doubt you will, the community will once again benefit from your presence in office.

I must say, that as an avid cyclist and cycling Ambassador, I commend your role in making cycling safer in your community. Last night, we held our third Ride of Silence here in Cape Breton. This ride, an International event, pays tribute to cyclists killed or injured in collisions with motor vehicles. Anyone who attempts to make cycling safer and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities, is a Hero to me!

All the best my friend!

Anonymous said...

Nicely said Tim. Best of luck!!


Tim Scammell, PTech said...

Thanks Lonnie. These words from you mean a lot. I always appreciate you taking time to read these and provide your input.
Thanks pal.

Tim Scammell, PTech said...

Thank you HC. Now if I could figure out who you are. :)

Janice said...

Ahh Tim...glad you haven't ruled out the possibility of running in the future. Job well done my friend!

Tim Scammell, PTech said...

Thanks Janice. As always. :)