“I’m feeling very confident and I’m excited about the new Council’s energy. I feel the Council is coming in for the betterment of the community; which is encouraging to feel,” Mayor-elect for the Town of St. Paul, Maureen Miller says she is energized and ready to lead the Council table.
Miller will take lead of the Council table as St. Paul’s first female Mayor. She laughs that it hadn’t even occurred to her that she was the first, “I never actually put that together. I kinda chuckled. I raised my children, a daughter and two sons, and that was never really an issue. That’s how oblivious I was.” Miller explains she looks at it as competency, not gender. Adding, that it’s a sign of the times that it wasn’t a highlight on the campaign trail. “In that reflection, I realized I was the first female chair of St. Paul Education, too.” Miller has an all-male Council, which she doesn’t predict will be any kind of issue.
Miller is new to municipal politics, having never held a seat on Council prior to running for mayor. She has had lot of experience in the structure of a council table, through the school board. Some of the newly elected Councillors are also new to politics, explains Miller, “I hope the community gives us the opportunity to acquire all the information required to do this job. I plan on meeting with various department heads and the CAO (Chief Administrative Officer, Holly Habiak), to see what projects are on the go. Where the projected budget is and where we are with that.” Miller plans to take the next few days leading into the organizational and Council meeting preparing herself. “The community is asking for us to be transparent and do our due diligence. I’m asking the same of the community to make sure we have the opportunity to gain that information.”
Along with meeting the Town Administration, Miller will be meeting with former Mayor, Glenn Andersen and former Councillors, “I’ll be asking about some of their projects that they have passion about, and understanding that passion to move forward, guided by the community.” Miller would like the former Mayor and Council’s perspective moving forward, “in doing our due diligence, I want to know about the projects, that have been put in place, have they been properly vetted by the community? Has the community directed this to happen? And is that still the direction we heard during the campaign?”
“I do believe that this is the time, that we come back to ourselves and re-prioritize,” Miller says she plans on engaging the community before going forward with projects. “There are projects that are on the plate that people in the community still feel are a priority, then you move forward with them. But there are some, that based on our present budget limitations, that may not be still a priority. What restraints do we have in changing that decision.”
Around the council table there will be one returning Councillor, Norm Noel and the rest are new coming in. With the exception of Ron Boisvert and Gary Ward, who both held positions on Council and Town staff; Boisvert as CAO and Ward as the Rec Director. “Everybody is not necessarily green, we all come in with our different gifts.” Also elected were Tyson deMossiac, Brad Eamon and Nathan Taylor. “When you put your name forward, I hope you’re a sharp shooter and willing to do the work.”
“I think energy moving forward is going to be very positive,” Miller is excited for the organizational meeting, which will be held prior to the Council meeting on Monday at 7:00 pm, at Council Chambers.