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Several Peterborough-area mayors not seeking re-election

Douro-Dummer mayor and Peterborough County warden J. Murray Jones. Douro-Dummer Twp.

After 24 years in municipal politics, Douro-Dummer Township mayor and Peterborough County warden J. Murray Jones is retiring.

Jones tells Global News Peterborough that it was time to “hang it up.”

“I began this little political career with no great thing in mind, but I would do it in 1998. I was warden for 11 years, which is a county record. It’s the fact that I think everyone realizes when it’s time. A little internal voice kicks in,” Jones said.

“After 24 years, it’s time for me to sit back and de-stress a little bit.  All these years, every weekend, 24 hours a day, you’re on call. It’s time for me to do some things I would like to do.”

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Jones, who was first elected as a councillor in 1998 and then mayor in 2003, said he’s looking forward to having no commitments for a little while.

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He says he might get into podcasting and interviewing people, but he’s looking forward to taking a break.

“I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t like,” Jones joked.

He recalled his greatest success in the role was his leadership.

“I never claimed to be an issues guy. I like to think I’ve shown leadership that enables all members of council to say what they want to say so we can all make decisions based on mutual understanding. It’s a job of getting everyone together to make the right decisions for the right reasons,” Jones said.

“People have to remember, the title of warden or mayor, you don’t have any more power than anyone else on council. You have one vote like the rest of them do.”

Jones was always known to crack a joke or two before giving a speech or at council meetings as a way to lighten the mood.

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“Humour is the best medicine. I try to find it in everything we do. It breaks the ice and gets everyone off their pedestal and back to earth. It’s all we have left.”

Click to play video: 'Peterborough city council members speak out about being a woman in politics'
Peterborough city council members speak out about being a woman in politics

Cavan Monaghan Township Mayor Scott McFadden is also not seeking re-election after two terms as mayor and one as deputy mayor.

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“After 12 years, I look back on what I wanted to deliver for the township and felt it was an appropriate time to wrap it up,” McFadden said.

“I’ve delivered on those promises all the way back to 2010. A new community centre, fire hall, operations centre and works yard. We’re in really good shape. I’ve accomplished my to-do list and it’s a good time to exit out and let someone else take the reins and carry on.”

McFadden says the new Cavan Monaghan Community Centre on County Rd. 10 near Millbrook was the greatest success during his time on council.

“Having grown up in the community and we always talked about it. Having sat on the minor hockey board and we always talked about it. It was never a priority to do from the council table. In 2010, that was my big issue on my platform was to deliver a new community centre. We were fortunate to open it in 2019.

“It’s definitely the jewel to leave behind as a legacy.”

As for what’s next, McFadden said he has nothing confirmed at this point.

“My last official date is Nov. 14. I don’t expect to be taking Nov. 15 off,” McFadden said.

“I’m sure I won’t be unemployed for long.”

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READ MORE: Peterborough municipal candidates’ election signs reported stolen: police

Over in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Andy Letham is also not seeking re-election after two terms as mayor.

“I always had it in my mind I would run for two terms, if they’d have me. So I stuck to that,” Letham said.

“I have some other things in my life, I’d like to do although I don’t know exactly what that is right now. I’m going to take a little time and figure out what’s next.”

Letham recalls the core services review including improving the financial plans for the municipality and the reduction of council from 17 members to nine as well as the downtown reconstruction projects in Lindsay, Fenelon Falls and Omemee as successes.

“The core services review was hard.  It was a hard discussion we needed to have at the time. We have this business model that we know isn’t sustainable. People hate change, but things are changing. Needs are changing, wants are changing and finances are changing,” Letham said.

“We just have to make sure moving forward that future councils have that in mind. It’s not about reducing services but it’s about finding better ways to deliver those services.”

Letham, who also served as a councillor in 2003 and lost two close elections for the mayor’s seat before winning in 2014, said he doesn’t have many regrets.

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“We made good decisions and had great discussions at the table. The biggest regret probably that I have is we didn’t get a Walmart (in Lindsay),” Letham added.

“In my tenure, we worked on it before I came along and it will be something worked on after I’m gone. It’s a big want in the community and we weren’t able to put the final stamp on that, which was disappointing. I know the developer is working on it with that retailer and I know that the pandemic set them back a little regarding big box expansion, but hopefully it’s something that will happen in the near future.”

Between Peterborough city and county, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County, there are nine mayors not seeking re-election on Oct. 24.

That includes Jones, McFadden and Letham, as well as Peterborough mayor Diane Therrien, Janet Clarkson of Trent Lakes, Andy Mitchell of Selwyn, Port Hope’s Bob Sanderson, Bill Cane of Hamilton Twp. and Alnwick/Haldimand mayor Gail Latchford.

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