UPPER NAPPAN - Due to the passing of longtime county councilor, Ratchford Merriam, yesterday's municipal council agenda was cut short, but council did take the time to elect a warden and deputy warden.
Two councilors, Keith Hunter and Ernest Gilbert, competed for the job of warden and after the nine councilors voted it was Hunter who got the job for the fourth term in a row.
"I'm very humbled and I will do the best I can, and if I get out of line I'm sure there are nine other people around me that will let me know, and I'll try to straighten out any mistakes I might make," said Hunter during his acceptance speech.
Don Smith, who is new to council after being elected in District 1 in the recent municipal election, was named deputy mayor after he went uncontested after putting his name forward for the job.
"A lot of the announcements and meetings we have happen around the town of Amherst," said Hunter. "So I think it's appropriate for Don to be the deputy because he lives close to the town of Amherst, and if there's anything I need help with, because I have a conflict or sickness, Don will be able to attend those meetings."
If Hunter finishes out this term, and he says he has every intention of doing so, he will have been warden for 16 years.
"It's a job I really enjoy and it's a job I take seriously," he said. "We have a budget that is over $16 million, that's big business, so we have to be very respectful of where the money came from.
"It's taxpayers money and we must be very good stewards of that money."
The municipality has 16,000 residents who live in the county and, as a councillor, Hunter's job is to represent his constituents but, as warden, he is also responsible for being a spokesman for council.
"Although it's me out there verbalizing it, it's not just me making the decision," said Hunter. "It's all of council that does. I ‘m there to be the spokesperson and, also, it's a job that keeps a face on the county when it comes to doing federal and provincial negotiations and making announcements."