Marg Isbester will shift one seat to her left on Greater Napanee’s council horseshoe into the mayor’s chair while Max Kaiser will cross the floor to be seated to her right as deputy mayor when the new council is sworn in this December.
Isbester, who is just finishing her first term as deputy mayor, won the top seat with 2,325 votes, beating Brian Calver’s 2,119. A. Sam Salam had 882 votes while Gavin Cross had 377 and Gerry Haggerty 336.
Kaiser, who currently represents Ward 2, will serve as deputy mayor after defeating current Ward 4 councillor Carol Harvey by a count of 4,343 votes to 1,655.
“It is a big go, going for mayor,” said Isbester, who had served one term as councillor before successfully running for deputy mayor in 2014 and now mayor. “I think my experience certainly counted for a lot. I had quality candidates around me that ran extremely good races as well.”
Isbester said she was relieved when the results — which were a bit delayed in being revealed at town hall — were finally posted.
“I think this has been on of the longest days of my life, probably even longer than my wedding day,” she joked. “I’m excited to get to work. It’s a wonderful council and I think we can start getting at all the stuff that we talked to and more than that, the things that we listened to. I guess that’s why we have elections every four years, you hear more things you never thought of yourself. I kept a running list and I’ve got 92 requests that people want to get to and I’m sure the rest of the new council will have exactly the same thing.”
Isbester already has some ideas as to what will be some of the biggest issues to tackle as mayor.
“The wastewater treatment plant has got to be one of the biggest things,” said Isbester. “The whole time we’ve been on the campaign trail we’ve had businesses that have been looking at us and we need to strengthen our capacity. Getting that done has to be key. Then we’re going to head right into budget. I think the budget process with a brand new council may have to vary, it may take a much larger amount of time.”
She said they will also have to look at which councillors will sit on which committees and perhaps even look at forming some new committees as well.
“It’s going to be a ‘Let’s get to know each other first’ sort of thing,” said Isbester.
Isbester’s win was a historic first as she becomes the first woman to serve as mayor of Greater Napanee. While she never made that part of her platform, she hoped it would inspire the next generation.
“A mayor is a mayor, no matter the gender,” she said. “If I’m setting a standard for more women to get into politics, I’m not the least bit against that, but what the people have said was I was the best person for the job and that’s the way I look at it.”
Taking over her old role will be Kaiser, who had the most decisive victory of any candidate.
“I feel really energized and empowered with the support I got,” said Kaiser. “Certainly I got a clear mandate from the community as a whole so I feel good about that.”
As for the rest of the horseshoe, it will be made up of five new faces with no previous council experience.
“We’ve got a bunch of new members to get up to speed,” said Kaiser of the rest of council. “I think there’s some opportunity for us with some experience to lend a little guidance and not influence in any sense, but make sure they get a clear understanding of what our roles are. We’re about high level decision making and policy making, not day to day operations.”
The deputy mayor-elect says he’s looking forward to working with the new council.
“I’m really optimistic about the councillors that were selected,” said Kaiser. “I think we can have a fairly cohesive group. Not that we will always agree, but looking at the successful candidates we will have a really good group to work together on a lot of things.”
He echoed those sentiments about the incoming mayor.
“I have respect for Marg and Marg and I have always worked well together and I think that will continue,” said Kaiser.
He says that although they may not agree on every issue, they will be able to work together for the good of the community. He also says he’ll look to Isbester’s experience as he now steps into his role on Lennox and Addington County council as well.
Kaiser thanked not only the voters, but the fellow candidates who spoke highly of him while on the campaign trail.
“They were talking up my credentials and promoting me and I appreciate all that bolstering support,” said Kaiser. “By in large the number one hands down is my wife Jessica. My whole family and my father have supported this effort, but Jessica was there with me stuffing mailboxes. I was running messages by her before I posted anything. She made me a better candidate.”
Representing Ward 1 will be John McCormack (843), defeating Cortwright Christian (189) and Robert Boomhour (83).
Ward 2 winner was Terry Warren Richardson (691) over Terry Cook (314) and Robin Lee (198).
Ward 3 winner was Dave Pinnell Jr. (432) defeating Richard Pringle (407), Terrilyn Geenevasen (354) and Gerry Marsh (230).
Ward 4 winner was Bob Norrie (374) defeating Cathy Conrad (308), Jason McDonald (223) and Tom Derreck (200).
Ward 5 winner was Ellen Johnson (334) defeating Shaune Lucas (332) and Bill Martin (327).
Laurie French (3,126) was re-elected as trustee for the Limestone District School Board, defeating Roberta Lamb (1,977).
Michel Charron (5) was elected over Diane Burns (3) for trustee of Conseil Des Écoles Catholiques Du Centre-Est.