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Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00

'R-E-S-P-E-C-T' is watchword in down-to-earth mayor's first speech

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            New City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham repeated the word “respect” nine times in his first speech at city hall Dec. 2 on the occasion of his—and the new council’s—inauguration.

            “You will hear me use the word respect a lot because it means a lot to me,” he said. “There have been far too many times where it has been missing in this room. It will not be missing over the next four years.

           

 “We need to collectively approach problems and we need to respect each other's opinions and ideas.”

            Letham repeated that “we must all work together with respect,” referring to council, staff and citizens, and promised that “I will work together with everyone with respect. I will make wise, informed, common-sense decisions that are in the best interests of our citizens.”

            He said he would “never pretend to have all the answers, but I will always fight to find the best solutions. I will serve in this role with everything I am to achieve the only goal that matters: a stronger, healthier and more vibrant City of Kawartha Lakes.

            “Anyone is welcome to hold me accountable to this. The only thing I care about what you think of me is that I am doing the best job I can to serve you and this city.”

            “Respect is not gained through a title or position or power, it is earned through thoughtful action, humble leadership, and consistent service.”

            In setting a more folksy tone for his administration, Letham said he did not “wish to be referred to as ‘Your Worship.’ Not in this room, not in my office, not on the street.”

            Then he showed a self-deprecating sense of humour by adding: “Maybe just at home.”

            “A simple ‘Mr. Mayor’ will suffice in this room,” he continued. “And outside of here… ‘Andy’ works just fine.”

            Letham had opened by saying his first inclination had been to jump right in and lay out his 100-day plan “for everything that needs to start happening in our city and an evaluation process that will help set expectations.” But after listening to others, he said, he realized this was not the occasion to get into policy nuts and bolts.

            The mood was celebratory, as Scottish bagpiper Greer Thornbury piped mayor, council and entourage into (and out of) the chambers, and a children’s choir from St. Dominic school led in the singing of O Canada and God Save the Queen. Justice Drew Gunsolus looked after the swearing in, and added a few “bons mots” of his own.

            At a reception afterwards, a Bobcaygeon resident who had come to see the inauguration, indicated he was generally pleased with what he had heard, but then added sombrely: “Now we’ll see.”

            A day later, according to staff, Mayor Andy Letham was sitting behind his desk at City Hall poring over budget documents, planning meetings and—one of his key election promises—getting to know staff.

            By 10 am, he had scheduled meetings with each city director to get an overview of their challenges and successes.

Read 1461 times Last modified on Wednesday, 18 February 2015 20:58

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