By Chad Ingram
Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen will again serve as Haliburton County warden after a tie vote by county councillors between Danielsen and contender Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin during the county inaugural meeting on Dec. 15 was broken with a name being drawn from an envelope.
Like other council meetings amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that meeting took place with councillors participating remotely via online conferencing app Zoom, and was broadcast to the public on YouTube.
In late November, both Devolin and Danielsen expressed interest in becoming warden for the upcoming year, making speeches to their colleagues. The warden is the head of county council, which consists of the mayor and deputy mayor of each of the county’s four lower-tier municipalities, and members of county council decide annually who’ll fill the role for the upcoming year.
Danielsen has served as warden for the past two years, and Devolin previously held the role in 2017. During the Dec. 15 meeting, following remarks by councillors who’d supported the nominations of Danielsen and Devolin, council took a 15-minute break so that councillors could vote electronically.
“Consistent with the theme of the year 2020, where everything is just a little more complicated, we did have a tie vote,” chief administrative officer Mike Rutter said following the break. “So we will be drawing the name from an envelope.”
In accordance with the county’s bylaw, the mayor of the municipality with the highest weighted assessment is tasked with drawing the name, so from Dysart et al chambers, Mayor Andrea Roberts drew a name from a sealed envelope opened and held by clerk Mallory Bishop.
Danielsen’s name was drawn.
“I know this is rather extraordinary to be warden for three years running, but it’s extraordinary times for us all,” Danielsen said. “We’ve got some incredible challenges ahead of us, just starting with the pandemic and continuing to deal with that. And it’s sad to say that despite the fact that there are vaccines coming, we’re going to be dealing with this for months yet to come.”
Danielsen had touted consistency in leadership amid the pandemic in her November speech to council.