On November 15 the new Council of Madawaska Valley held its inaugural meeting. Those who tuned in to watch via Zoom were disappointed to receive video only as CAO Suzanne Klatt presided over the swearing in of all members of Council, starting with mayor-elect Mark Willmer and the four Councillors Mary Blank, Shelley Maika, Joseph Olsheski and David Shulist. By the time Mayor Willmer gave his inaugural address, the live feed had switch to audio only so the audience could at least hear what was said. Above from left: David Shulist, Mary Blank, Mark Willmer, Shelley Maika, Joseph Olsheski. Photo Chad Beckwith-Smith.
Mayor Willmer began by expressing relief that the four month campaign was over. He introduced each member of Council, highlighting what they bring to what he termed a very diverse Council. He said their qualities of experience and youth make for a “productive and forward-thinking Council.” He said he was excited to be the fifth mayor of Madawaska Valley and hoped to live up to the standard set by previous mayors Bill Schweig, John Hildebrandt, David Shulist and Kim Love. Laughter greeted his statement that coincidentally this Council, just as former Mayor Kim Love announced in 2018, brings to the table a combined 48 years’ municipal experience. Willmer said, “Each member of council may bring different perspectives and priorities to the job ahead but there is one thing that we all share in common – a resolute desire to work in the best interest of this community.”
The new mayor offered appreciation to members of the last Council, saying they had not had the easiest of terms and had to deal with flooding and the pandemic among other challenges. He expressed his pleasure in how they handled those issues, saying that both new subdivisions are starting to develop and the arena will serve the community for another 40 years. Willmer said the future is bright for the municipality, but the new Council must face the global reality of fiscal uncertainty and rising inflation as it seeks to achieve fiscal balance while maintaining municipal assets. He expressed confidence that members of Council will work together to weather any storms.