Algonquin Highlands to change title of reeve to mayor
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | June 15, 2017|
Algonquin Highlands will soon have a mayor instead of a reeve.
CAO Angie Bird prepared a report to yesterday's (June 15) council meeting, providing council with information regarding changing the title of head of council. Council
Reeve Carol Moffatt first canvassed a change at the County Council level back in 2013 when she was warden.
The issue was raised at County Council again in 2016 during discussions about changes to the warden’s role.
“Since that time, Algonquin Highlands’ council members have verbally indicated they are also interested in having the discussion,” Bird says in her report.
She says that dating back to the 10th Century, the heads of council in small rural municipalities have been called reeve.
“At that time, the reeve held different responsibilities than mayors in larger municipalities. Those distinctions no longer exist today as small municipalities have the same legislated responsibilities as larger ones. However, while the same responsibilities exist, the title of reeve is not recognized or well known to the broader public particularly the younger generation of voters,” the report says.
Section 220 of the Municipal Act provides the authority to change the title of heads of council.
Bird noted that a number of comparably-sized municipalities have made the change, including Lake of Bays, Bancroft, Hastings Highlands, North Kawartha, Douro Dummer, the Havelock-Belmont-Methuen, Asphodel-Norwood, Selwyn, Head, Clara and Maria, Armstrong and Prince.
Reeve Carol Moffatt told The Highlander that when she and other council heads go to meetings and conferences, “Even though the term reeve is entrenched in history and is supposed to carry the same pomp and circumstance as the term mayor, I’m sorry it doesn’t.”
She added the younger generation asks, “How long do you have to be a reeve before you get to be a mayor, like it’s a junior position, when you put in enough time you get to be mayor.”
She said there has slowly been a change in the misunderstanding of what a reeve is.
Moffatt said it’s akin to calling someone a “photographer” or a “picture taker. You do the same thing."
Entrenched in the language is a misunderstanding of the role. The reeve and mayor are both heads of council, with the same responsibilities and duties, so why don’t we all be mayors.”
The motion on the floor June 15 was for council to receive the report and that a bylaw be drafted for consideration at the next regular meeting July 20.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.