Jim Ginn leaves Warden's chair after two two-year terms
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
By the time this newspaper has been published, Huron County Council will have elected a new warden, but at its Nov. 25 meeting, council celebrated Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn, who has held the position for the past four years.
Chief Administrative Officer Meighan Wark said it was a shame that the COVID-19 pandemic would preclude council from hosting a warden’s banquet to honour Ginn. However, she, councillors and other staff members sought to celebrate Ginn and his four years as Huron County’s top politician via Zoom on Nov. 25.
“What a ride it’s been,” Wark said of her time serving under Ginn, saying it would be hard for anyone who hasn’t been warden to know how much the job requires of someone. Ginn, over two terms as warden, dedicated hundreds of hours to the job, all out of a love for the county and for wanting to make it a better place.
Ginn first ran for the position in 2016, saying he felt a farmer should be the warden when Huron County hosted the International Plowing Match in 2017. Then, in 2018, with a large amount of turnover as a result of the municipal election, he again sought to lead the county during a time of transition. He ran unopposed and took on a second two-year term, which was unprecedented since the county expanded the warden’s term from one year to two in 2014 when Morris-Turnberry Mayor Paul Gowing served the first two-year term.
At a recent meeting that both Ginn and Wark attended, Wark said a federal politician remarked on the importance of local politicians, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the county was lucky to have Ginn at the helm during such a precarious time.
She thanked Ginn for his hard work and dedication, saying he showed true leadership during his time as the warden.
Then, councillors and members of the senior management team all held up handmade signs thanking Ginn for his time. Again, the gesture was made in lieu of a warden’s banquet.
Speaking to councillors, Ginn said he felt his greatest accomplishment over the past four years was to leave the position with the respect of his fellow councillors and staff.
He said that isn’t always easy to do when you’re in a position where you have to say no to people on a regular basis, so he was proud to have retained those relationships through the four-year period.
Ginn added that he always took a very simple approach to his life in municipal politics, saying that he was always honest and operated under the golden rule, treating others as he would want to be treated.
Another thing that he felt had been accomplished over the past four years is that the profile of Huron County has risen in the eyes of federal and provincial politicians. He said that high-ranking politicians and bureaucrats are now aware of what is happening in Huron County and that awareness is a major victory for the community.
Much of that, he said, has to do with his role as the current chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, on which he has been joined by Wark, who is serving as its chief administrative officer and secretary.
Ginn also said he was happy to be in the warden’s chair when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, saying he wouldn’t have wanted to be a new warden in the position at the beginning of the pandemic.
Huron County Council will elect a new warden at its Dec. 2 meeting, which will be held virtually via Zoom, beginning at 9 a.m. The two candidates are Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Mayor Glen McNeil and South Huron Mayor George Finch.