Former Saskatchewan Lt.-Gov. Gordon Barnhart will lead the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) after defeating Saskatoon city Coun. Darren Hill on Monday in the group’s presidential election at its annual convention.
“It’s quite an honour to receive the support of all of these leaders of the province,” Barnhart said to reporters after the results were made public.
Barnhart received 399 votes from delegates, compared to Hill’s 308. One vote was also deemed illegible.
The province’s budget and infrastructure are two areas Barnhart said he plans to focus on as his term begins. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall addressed the group hours before the election results were released, stating that “everything is on the table” as the government looks to reduce a $1.2 billion deficit.
“We know that there’s going to be cost cutting, efficiencies, all of that sort of thing,” Barnhart said.
“On the other hand I am optimistic that SUMA, all of the urban municipalities and also the rural municipalities … will come out of this OK and in Saskatchewan fashion we will adjust and we will adapt.”
Barnhard said he plans to have “good, open communication” with the provincial government. He was elected as a councillor in the town of Saltcoats last year after serving as the University of Saskatchewan’s interim president in 2014 and 2015.