Glen McNeil named 2021/2022 Huron County Warden
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW) Mayor Glen McNeil has been elected the 2021/2022 Warden of Huron County.
With his election, McNeil becomes just the third person to serve in the capacity since the term was expanded to two years, following Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing (2015/2016) and Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn (2017/2018 and 2019/2020).
McNeil was one of two men who ran for the position. He defeated South Huron Mayor George Finch, a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer, when the new warden was chosen at Huron County Council’s virtual meeting on Dec. 2.
Howick Reeve Doug Harding nominated McNeil for the position, saying he has been friends with McNeil for over 50 years dating back to time spent together as members of the Junior Farmers organization.
He detailed McNeil’s political career, saying he was first elected as a member of ACW Council in 2014 and was acclaimed as its warden, succeeding long-time Mayor Ben Van Diepenbeek, in 2018. Under McNeil’s leadership, Harding said, the municipality has focused on growth and attracting businesses, which has been done successfully in recent years.
Harding also recited McNeil’s agricultural qualifications, not only as a farmer himself, but as someone who has been heavily involved with the International Plowing Match (IPM) every time it has been hosted in Huron County in recent decades.
Harding moved McNeil’s nomination and Central Huron Deputy-Mayor Dave Jewitt seconded it, with McNeil accepting the nomination.
North Huron Reeve Bernie Bailey introduced Finch as a candidate for warden, detailing his over 30 years as an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer. Bailey said Finch’s work in policing Huron County would be an asset to his time as warden, saying he has seen the best and the most difficult circumstances in Huron County.
Bailey also detailed the investment taking place in South Huron under Finch’s leadership, with millions being invested in new residential development in the municipality.
He said Finch would make a great leader for Huron County, who would be strong, thoughtful and understanding.
Bailey made a motion to nominate Finch for the position, which was seconded by Bluewater Mayor Paul Klopp. Finch accepted the nomination.
Both McNeil and Finch addressed Huron County Council before the vote, making the case for why they would be the best man to lead the county for the next two years.
Finch said he had no doubt that any Huron County councillor would make a great warden, but that he was hoping they would support his bid. Similarly, McNeil said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Central Huron Mayor and two-term Huron County Warden Jim Ginn and the excellent example he set for governance in the county.
In the end, by way of a secret vote, McNeil won the election, with councillors voting anonymously through Zoom.
He thanked councillors for having confidence in him and pledged to do the job to the best of his ability for the next two years.