Council played musical committee chairs at its final organizational meeting of the 2014 to 2018 term and, unsurprisingly, when the song was over, councillors Duncan Wong and Ron Matechuk were left without seats.
Mayor Dennis Fenske also confirmed what many already suspected – that he wouldn’t seek a second term in office when this one is up.
“After 19 years as an employee of the City of Thompson and entering my eighth year on council, I am announcing today that I will, for personal reasons, not be seeking re-election in 2018,” said Fenske during his opening remarks. “This decision is not taken lightly and I will continue to work 100 per cent for the betterment of our community for the upcoming year.”
Coun. Colleen Smook was tagged by Fenske to succeed Coun. Kathy Valentino as deputy mayor for the last year of this council’s mandate.
“Colleen has stepped up and carried the torch for us in the OmniTrax file and the One North File and as we go through the OmniTrax issues with the Port of Churchill and the rail, she’s been very active on that file and I wanted to express my gratitude for that,” said the mayor. “She has stepped up in my place and in the absence of deputy mayor Valentino to carry the mantle of the City of Thompson and I appreciate that as well.”
The new deputy mayor expressed her thanks for the appointment and to her predecessor.
“I would like to thank Kathy for the last two years as deputy mayor, very big shoes to fill following her,” said Smook. “Thank you to Mayor Fenske for nominating me. I will be here to listen to the community’s concerns and do whatever I can so please feel free to come and talk to me at any given time.”
The outgoing deputy mayor said filling the role was an honour and a big responsibility.
“You should never assume or judge somebody who can sit in that chair, the mayor’s chair, because it’s definitely a learning curve and I thank you so much for what I’ve learnt,” said Valentino.
Fenske selected Valentino to chair the finance and administration committee, Coun. Blake Ellis as chair of the human resources and communications committees, Smook to chair the public works and infrastructure committee, Judy Kolada to head the public safety committee, Coun. Dennis Foley as chair of the recreation and community services committee and Coun. Penny Byer as chair of the development and review committee. As deputy mayor, Smook was automatically appointed chair of the legislative and intergovernmental affairs committee.
When it came time for councillors to elect the second representative to seven of those committees, Smook was acclaimed to the human resources committee, and Valentino to the recreation and community services committee. Smook was voted to the finance and administration committee over fellow nominee Matechuk, and Byer was elected to the public works and infrastructure committee over councillors Wong and Matechuk. Foley was voted onto the public safety committee over Wong and onto the communications committee over Byer, and Kolada was voted onto the development and review committee over Valentino. Ellis and Valentino were the two additional councillors elected to the legislative and intergovernmental affairs committee over third nominee Judy Kolada.
Foley, Kolada and Smook were also appointed to the board of revision, with Foley serving as the chair.